Thursday, April 14, 2011

Dirty Skies, for Skywatch

In the interest of full disclosure, I have to tell you that our skies are not always a beautifully clear and cloudless blue here in the southern part of New Mexico--especially not in the early Spring, when the wind begins to howl. 

It's like the Dust Bowl all over again--the very earth from the fields all around becomes airborne and our nice mountain views disappear. We batten down the hatches and ride out the storms from inside the house, where we hear the wind howling and hurtling itself at the windows and doors, trying to come inside. No matter how well we close things up, a fine dust sifts over everything inside. If we are crazy enough to venture out (to take some Skywatch photos, for example) we will literally be digging dust out of our eyes, ears, and teeth for hours afterwards. 

Here was the sky as seen from our house during a recent storm. The views are first to the east, toward the Organ Mountains; and then to the west, toward Picacho Peak. For contrast, I have included photos taken from the same points the next morning when the wind had died down for a bit. We were experiencing actual clouds that morning--but no rain, alas. 
Toward the Organ Mountains during the storm

The Organs on the next day

Toward Picacho Peak during the storm (look hard, it's there)

Picacho Peak, next morning


For skies around the world containing clouds, dust, birds, and other things, please visit Skywatch Friday

18 comments:

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

I don't miss the New Mexico dust storms. Great post.

Sylvia K said...

I do remember those!! I grew up in a small west Texas town where sand and dust storms were the norm! Needless to say, I don't miss them -- exchanged them for rain!! Ah, but I have blue skies today!! Hooray! Hope you have a happy, dust-free weekend, Clairz!

Sylvia

becky said...

Hey Clair,
I can relate!
The wind is blowing here in Santa Fe like there is no tomorrow~ it's the "windy season!" I got beat up this morning walking in it.
Great photos.

Sandy ~~~ said...

We have high winds here too at the base of the Cascades in western WA...but we don't have the dust. So that will be a new adventure and maybe I will have to leave my contact out on those days.

Rajesh said...

Wonderful shots of stormy sky.

uberrhund said...

Great descriptive photos. We get Santa Ana winds here in So Cal in the Autumn and the dirty air is bad, I feel for you with the gritty teeth and eyes, been there washed that off!
Have a good and less windy hopefully, weekend!

nonizamboni said...

I can SEE the winds. They are the uninvited guest at just about everyone's spring, but yours are the most stark and poignant.
Nicely done!

Luke said...

I hope your skies will clear up soon!

ewok1993 said...

that isn't fun going out. but thanks for the education. i am one of those misinformed that think it's blue skies 365 days out there.

Diane AZ said...

Great before and after pics; such a difference when the wind is not blowing! It's windy here today, the sky is white and mountains have disappeared.

LauraX said...

Is it hard to breathe when the sky is so dusty? Here the rain and sun have been alternating...no snow in over a week!

Kim, USA said...

I haven't experience dust storm but snow storm or snow blizzard. It's very dramatic to see the mountains after the dust storm because they are so pretty.
SWF

clairz said...

Thank you all for your comments. These winds are really something, but nothing like the winds in eastern New Mexico, out on the High Plains. There, the winds seem to blow all year around. We really have nothing to complain about here. They often tell us that the sun shines here 350 days a year, if you can imagine.

Laura, when the dust is really blowing, you just have to wait it out and stay inside if you can. Driving can be very hazardous, as you can lose all vision of what's around you very quickly.

I've noticed that some windy days give me a headache. I think that is because of the stuff that is blooming at the same time and it's a kind of allergic reaction.

Owlfarmer said...

Dust/sand storms don't sound all that scary to folk who've never experienced one, but they can be terrifying. I can remember having to pull over to the side of the road in West Texas once, hoping that nobody would plow into me--but the dust was just too thick to try and negotiate. Things were pretty murky here yesterday--which made me appreciate the thunderstorm that came through and cleaned things up. Thanks for the memories (I think)--have a great weekend.

Ms. Becky said...

whoa, that's some dust you've got goin' on there. my word. but it's understandable when there's so much exposed earth with nothing growing in the desert like that. and we have high winds here to this morning. it's a sign of spring. I guess. have a happy weekend.

Deb from WhatsInMyAttic said...

What? Not clear all the time? I'm shocked! Actually, I just returned from Boston...it was bright and sunny and not a bit of anything but white fluffy clouds (and some contrails). Just sayin'. :)

Martha Z said...

I got a taste of that desert wind driving over I40 last week. I don't know how Hubby managed to keep the van on the road. The beautiful blue sky we had enjoyed for more than two weeks had disappeared behind the dust.
I have lived where the wind often blows and I don't care for it.

Linda said...

Wishing you rain soon to damp down that dust. What a stark contrast between the two photos of each landmark. We do get some dust trouble in Scotland in areas with very sandy soil, and sometimes there are 'sand-drifts' across roads, but nothing like this house-penetrating scale.