Monday, April 09, 2007

80% Chance of Sand

Trying to get accustomed to new weather patterns when you move to another part of the world can be tricky. Having moved from New York to Florida years ago, I had to get used new types of weather and weather patterns including severe thunder storms, tornados, and even water spouts. In Florida one day, it could be 90 degrees and then 35 degrees the next morning. Another strange thing about the weather in Florida is that it can be raining cats and dogs across the street and bright and sunny right where you are standing. (Here it just rains cats.)

However, living in Florida never prepared me for the forecast the other day that called for “sand.” The Weather Channel even had an icon of the sun, which normally has clouds or rain transposed over it this time of year, with a little picture of swirling sand and the word “Sand” where normally the words “sunny” or “rain” would be.

The “sand” is from the start of the Khamaseen season when much of the area will be affected by warm dusty winds. The Khamaseen is a cyclonic-type wind that originates in the Sahara and affects North Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, and the Levant. The wind occurs during a 50-day period from March until early May and is characterized by hot and dusty conditions. The name is derived from the Arabic khamsen, meaning 50. You can actually see the sand suspended in the air, which gives the sky an eerie yellow hue. You can also feel the sand when the wind blows.

Over all I do like the weather here better than Florida because of the absence of humidity and hurricanes in the summer and the winters are mild, but it will take some getting used to. Just days before the “sand” it was 80 degrees here and then it snowed, then rained, then sand, then rain again. Every morning before I leave for school I check the weather on the Internet to see if I should bring my light or heavy jacket, an umbrella, my sunglasses, or a respirator mask.

Posted by LR who is still battling sand.

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