Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Dust storm hits Phoenix area, again

Dust storms can be taxing on your home's
and car's air filters.
Take note of your indoor air quality and dust levels, experts say

Arizona’s Phoenix has been hit with the third major dust storm last week, turning the skies brown and coating anything left outside.

A 1,000-foot-high wall of dust traveled at least 50 miles into metro Phoenix and neighboring Pinal County last week on Thursday evening before dissipating, according to an article in the Detroit Free Press.

It reduced visibility, created dangerous driving conditions and caused flight delays.

The dust storms were caused by thunderstorms moving through southern Arizona, which brought winds of up to 60 mph that stirred up fine dust in the agricultural fields, a meteorologist said.

This season's most powerful dust storm came July 5, when a mile-high wall of dust halted flights and knocked out power to 10,000 people. Another dust storm hit July 18, reaching heights of 3,000-4,000 feet, delaying flights and cutting power to more than 2,000 people.

Weather experts said such massive dust storms -- known by the Arabic word "haboob" -- happen only in Arizona, Africa's Sahara desert and parts of the Middle East. They cause pollution levels to skyrocket and can create health issues.

Dust storms and health effects

Dennis Dickerson, a compliance manager at the Maricopa County Air Quality Department, said the normal level of dust in the air is 20-70 micrograms per cubic meter.

During the last dust storm, the 24-hour average for Phoenix reached nearly 160 -- slightly above what federal standards deem healthy.

Dr. Art Mollen of Scottsdale, Ariz., said there were twice as many patients as usual in his waiting room the day after the storm.

People came in with asthma flare-ups, sinus inflammation, ophthalmological migraines and other problems.

Source: Detroit Free Press

Remove airborne particles and allergens for better IAQ

In areas where sudden increases in dust and particle levels affect the air quality, homeowners and residents need to be extra vigilant when it comes to the air they breathe:
  • Check your home and car filters ASAP – they may need to be changed earlier than usual due to the larger load
  • Consider using a portable air purifier – when you can’t open the windows without layers of dust covering everything in sight, indoor air pollutant levels may be on the rise. 
Air purifiers such as the AirMedic+ Exec from AllerAir effectively remove particles, chemicals and other pollutants around the clock with a multistage filtration system.

Contact AllerAir for more information and assistance: 1-888-852-8247.
 

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