In a span of 15 seconds, the horizon changes from clear blue to hazy hues of brown and gray, as billowy clouds of dust and sand descend upon the city. They look a little like rain clouds, but there’s no moisture – just swirling sand and dust. The roads clear, as everyone hurries inside to wait for the storm to past.
Storms like these explain why over 90% of the cars in Iraq are white – they carry the dust more gracefully than bolder colors, such as red, that stand out like a sore thumb when covered in dirt.
In addition to making everyone’s life busier for a few days, by bringing on a cleaning frenzy, the dust storms warn that winter is approaching. A few such storms swept the city around 2 weeks ago. Since then, the average temperature has dropped over 30 degrees. Granted, many people might not think that temperatures in the 60s or 70s during the days and breezy 40s or 50s at night qualify as “cold,” but it is a drastic change from highs regularly topping 120F most of the year. So… here we are, heaters on, in our woolies and winter jackets, drinking hot tea and cider, snuggling, and enjoying our winter!