The Inside Scoop On 5 Kinds Of Crazy Weather

Most of us had never heard the term "derecho" until Friday, when we learned that's what meteorologists call the kind of massive storm that swept through the Midwest and blitzed the Eastern Seaboard, killing at least 20 people and leaving a 700-mile swath of destruction and downed power lines in its wake.

By Scott Neuman, July 2, 2012

That got us thinking about other unusual or poorly understood weather phenomena that are lurking out there to catch us by surprise. So we put together a quick primer (and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has a few other examples here).

Haboob: A downburst in a desert region that picks up loose sand, driving it forward. A 100-mile-wide haboob swept through Phoenix a year ago, knocking out power to at least 10,000 people and generally creating a huge mess.

"The dust gets into everything," says Fred Gadomski, a meteorologist at Penn State University. "It gets into electronics; it gets into every nook and cranny."

There were even concerns after the Arizona haboob last year that a fungus contained in dirt that causes Valley Fever would be spread by the dust storm.

Read the full story here:   National Public Radio