Does it rain in the Arabian Desert?

Located on the Arabian Peninsula and covering an area of some 900,000 square miles (2,300,000 square kilometers), the Arabian Desert is, indeed, a very dry place, but rain does fall there. Some parts of this desert receive an average annual rainfall of a mere 1.38 inches (35 millimeters). On occasion, flash flooding occurs because of rainstorms. The worst of these occurred in 1995, when a storm and high winds caused flash floods that killed five people near Jiddah.

Does all precipitation reach the ground?

No. Rain and other precipitation can often evaporate before reaching the ground, especially when the air is dry (low humidity). In the American Southwest "dry" storms can be quite common, creating lightning and thunder but little precipitation. The danger of evaporating rain is that it can create conditions conducive to downdrafts and microbursts by cooling the air and causing changes in air pressure. Dry storms thus signal a warning to aviators about potential flying hazards.

Massive dust storms, such as this one near Stratford,Texas, on April 18,1935, were a frightening sight that added to the woes of the Great Depression. (photo by George E. Marsh Album, courtesy NOAA)

Massive dust storms, such as this one near Stratford,Texas, on April 18,1935, were a frightening sight that added to the woes of the Great Depression. (photo by George E. Marsh Album, courtesy NOAA)

What is virga?

Virga is a fancy name for rain that dries up before hitting the ground.

What is the driest place on Earth?

Probably the driest place on the planet is the Atacama Desert, which is located in Chile near the Pacific coast. The average rainfall here—specifically, in the town of Arica—is about 0.02 inches (0.05 centimeters). Meteorologists believe this never-ending drought is the result of the Humboldt Current, which blocks rain from reaching the Atacama Desert. There are some parts of the Atacama Desert that have not seen a drop of rain in centuries.

What U.S. drought has been the costliest in terms of financial damages?

There have been many severe droughts in the United States over the course of history. The most famous one is the Dust Bowl of the 1930s. However, in terms of money, the costliest drought thus far has been the 1988-1989 drought that resulted in an estimated $40 billion hit to the U.S. economy. Over half the country's population was negatively affected.

What was the Dust Bowl and what impact did it have on the United States?

The Dust Bowl drought and dust storms persisted, to varying degrees, from 1933 through 1939, devastating America's heartland. The worst drought years were in 1934 and 1939, and the worst dust storms occurred in 1935. The Dust Bowl turned

What happened because of a dust storm in 1977?

One of the worst dust storms to hit the United States since the Dust Bowl occurred in February 1977, when fierce winds blew over plowed fields from Colorado to Texas, kicking up a huge dust cloud. The dust storm dumped three million tons (2.7 metric tons) of soil onto the state of Oklahoma; the cloud continued through Mississippi and Alabama, dramatically raising particulate pollution, and continued across the country and far into the Atlantic Ocean.

once verdant farmlands into wastelands, and huge dust storms swept across Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico, and even eastern states. But dry, hot weather was not the only culprit. Farmers at the time used techniques that depleted the soil severely. Most did not rotate their crops or irrigate their lands the way we do so today. The result was that when severe drought hit, crops died and the soil underneath was easily eroded. Strong winds blew the dirt into huge drifts, also sweeping away what little fertile soil was left.

The impact of the Dust Bowl was not only loss of crops, but also a never-before-seen period of immigration as former farmers abandoned their lands and, in many cases, headed out west to states such as California. Author John Steinbeck captured the plight of these people in his famous 1939 novel, The Grapes of Wrath. Photographers Dorothea Lange and Arthur Rothstein, among others, also recorded these terrible times for posterity in black-and-white photos while working for the Farm Security Administration. Today, the impact of the Dust Bowl can still be seen in America's central states. There remain many ghost towns that were once prosperous centers of commerce for local farm communities where the soil is still recovering.

What is drizzle?

Drizzle is just small droplets of rain measuring, on average, about 0.02 inches (0.05 centimeters) in diameter.

What place holds the record for the least amount of rain on Earth?

From October 1903 to January 1918, Arica, Chile, received no measurable rainfall.

What city in the United States holds the record for a dry spell?

From October 3, 1912, to November 8, 1914—a period of 767 days—no rain fell on Bagdad, California.

What does a 40 percent chance of rain really mean?

When the morning weather report speaks of a 40 percent chance of rain, it means that throughout the area (usually the metropolitan area) there is a 4 in 10 chance

Why is it more likely to rain in a city during the week than on the weekend?

Urban areas have an increased likelihood of precipitation during the work week because intense activity from factories and vehicles produce particles that allow moisture in the atmosphere to form raindrops. These same culprits also produce warm air that rises to create precipitation. A study of the city of Paris found that precipitation increased throughout the week and dropped sharply on Saturday and Sunday.

that at least 0.001 of an inch of rain (0.0025 centimeters) will fall on any given point in the area.

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