Phoenix Dust Storm (March 25th, 2014)

A Rare March Dust Storm Approaches Phoenix, Arizona

It was about 3:30pm when I got a cell phone alert from the National Weather Service stating that there was a dust storm warning for Pinal County.  I remember thinking to myself, “wait…there is a dust storm?”  About 5 minutes later, I was out the door to intercept that dust storm!

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“Arizona Dust Storm (3-25-14)” | Vimeo | YouTube License Video
Joining me on today’s chase was my father-in-law Mike Prater.  He’s lived all his life on the edge of tornado alley, but has never witnessed a dust storm, or experienced the thrill of a storm chase.  Mike decided he would drive and let me focus more on the storm and my photography.

We went north out of Maricopa to Casa Blanca road before heading east towards I-10.  I was a bit worried that we wouldn’t get to I-10 in time, but it was a big gamble I was willing to make.  Once we got to I-10, I decided to head straight up Arizona Highway 587 towards Chandler.  This put the leading edge of the dust storm right at my 3 o’clock until we got to Hunt Highway in chandler.

Once we got on Hunt highway, I had Mike drive me about a half mile down the road.  This proved to be a golden decision, because any further down the road, I wouldn’t have had a good escape option.  I then setup my time lapse, and then did a live over the phone interview with KTVK (3TV) a local news station in Phoenix.  I found it to really cool to be doing a live interview while I was watching and photographing a dust storm!

Once the storm got to us, I had Mike drive us west and then North then back west down Riggs road to I-10.  We then headed north towards the airport, in attempt to get another time lapse of the dust storm. We remained in good visibility the whole time.

I’d have to say this is probably my most favorite dust storm time lapse I’ve ever captured!  I think what really makes this dust storm is the contrasting green field and bright blue sky that really brings out of the dust storm.  This was also the first weather time lapse I was able to capture with my new 14mm lens. Truly this was a historical day for me as a photographer and a storm chaser!

Hopefully this is a sign of great things to come this monsoon season with weather photography, and of course rain!

A rare march dust storm approaches the Phoenix suburb of Chandler, Arizona on March 25th, 2014