West Texas dust cakes East Texas with grime
BY FAITH HARPER
East Texans woke up to a mess from the west after a strange weather phenomenon carried dirt particles from the west side of the state and rained them down on the area.
Doc Deason, meteorologist with KTYX CBS19, said he received several calls asking what caused the weather that left cars caked in muddy matter. One was from a father whose son was concerned about the Mayan prophecies.
"I said, 'It's not raining blood if that's what you are worried about,'" Deason joked.
Deason said the weather phenomenon had nothing to do with the Mayans and was caused by two concurrent weather events in the west and the east portions of the state.
He said winds in West Texas caused a dust storm as it swept across fields and picked up dried dirt particles. With the force of the winds, the particles can travel a couple of hundred miles in the air.
"If you get that stuff high enough in the air, it can suspend it until it will eventually fall to the ground," he said.
Meanwhile, in the east, a low pressure system passing north of the area caused intense winds as a cold front moved vigorously through East Texas. Deason said this is one of nature's ways of balancing high- and low-pressure areas.
He said the dirt definitely came from the west, but it was hard to tell from how far. He said it could have come from high winds blowing over farms west of Dallas.
Whitehouse resident Connie Brown said she walked out of her home following Wednesday's storms to find the silver and black Chrysler PT Cruiser she has been driving was speckled with brown splotches of dirt.
"I thought, 'What happened?'" when she first saw the vehicle. "I wanted to know where the mud cloud (was that) exploded near my house."
Mrs. Brown said the car belongs to her friend Charles who generously allowed her to borrow it while hers was in the shop.
She said he usually keeps his car in pristine condition, and she was mortified at its dirty condition.
"(I was) going to see him, and I didn't want to show up in it looking like it did," she said at the Quick N' Easy Car Wash, 6313 S. Broadway Ave.
The car wash was busy with a continuous stream of dirty cars entering and shiny clean ones leaving. Manager Mark McAdams said he estimates about 300 cars traveled through the car wash on Thursday, although the week before Christmas is usually a busy time.
"It's probably a little bit busier than it would be otherwise, but all the cars are pretty dirty today," he said Thursday.