One of the advantages of flying is you can get a wide view of the scenery as you travel overhead.
One lucky passenger captured such a sight on video last week -- the leading edge of a dust storm in the skies above Colorado.
What was seen was considered to be a haboob -- defined as a very strong dust and sandstorm that moves through hot and dry regions, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The term is derived from the Arabic word haab, which means wind or blow.
The far-reaching haboob could also be seen from space. Views from the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES)-East showed the storm pushing out of Nebraska and into Kansas in the early afternoon hours on Friday, Dec. 2.
According to local media, those travelling in the High Plains encountered arduous weather conditions as a result. Visibility was reportedly less than 0.4 km due to blowing dust on roadways.
So, what was responsible for the dust storm?
A squall line developed across Wyoming on Dec. 2, along with a wall of snow known as a snow curtain. This was associated with a sharp cold front.
As the front sagged south, the strong winds swept up dust and transitioned the event into a full-fledged dust storm, with the National Weather Service (NWS) issuing warnings for as the front tracked across Colorado and Kansas.
A haboob may sound like a rare phenomenon, but it's more commonplace than you may think. In Arizona, for example, one to three large dust storms will slide across the Phoenix area in any given year, according to NOAA. Across the state, more than 100 dust storms have been reported in the past 10 years, says NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center.
A dust storm is a wind-driven event where large sand and dust from bare, dry soils are lifted into the atmosphere.
With files from Tyler Hamilton, a meteorologist at The Weather Network.
Thumbnail courtesy of NOAA Satellites | Storyful.
Follow Nathan Howes on Twitter.