Dust Storm in New Mexico

Dust Storm in New Mexico

On April 14, 2012, a dust storm stretched from northern Mexico into New Mexico, grazing the northwestern tip of Texas. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this image the same day.

Arising from source points in the southwest (image lower left), the dust blew toward the northeast. Thick dust obscured El Paso, Texas, from the satellite sensor’s view. Over White Sands National Monument, the storm picked up additional sediments, discernible in the plume by their relatively light color.

On the evening of April 14, a Pacific-type cold front moved into the same region, and nighttime thunderstorms followed the dust, the National Weather Service reported. The line of thunderstorms subsequently traveled eastward through the early morning of April 15.

This dust storm happened to fall on the seventy-seventh anniversary of the Black Sunday dust storm of April 14, 1935. Striking the North American High Plains, east of the region affected by this storm, the Black Sunday dust storm was especially severe in the Oklahoma and Texas panhandles. That storm apparently spurred a Woody Guthrie song and a new nickname for the region: the Dust Bowl.

  1. References
  2. National Weather Service. (2010, August 24) Black Sunday: April 14, 1935. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Accessed April 16, 2012.
  3. National Weather Service. (2012, April 15) Strong winds with blowing dust, then nighttime thunderstorms: 14 April 2012. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Accessed April 16, 2012.

Images & Animations


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  • Data Date:

    April 14, 2012
  • Visualization Date:

    April 16, 2012
  • Sensor(s):

    Aqua - MODIS
NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration