Hollywood couldn't have better scripted the wall of dust that looked big enough to eat Phoenix.
The violent dust or sandstorm, called a haboob, typically occurs over desert land and can stretch thousands of feet high, according to the National Weather Service.
Tuesday evening's version, which had sustained winds of up to 69 mph and stretched more than 100 miles at one time, was especially intense. Oddly, the thunderstorm it accompanied produced little rain.
"I've never seen it like this before," said National Weather Service meteorologist Craig Ellis, who has 33 years of service.
The dust storm caused low visibility and delayed flights in and out of the state's largest airport.
At least three flights were canceled and about a dozen were delayed at Phoenix's Sky Harbor Airport, said airport spokeswoman Julie Rodriguez. A few planes were checked for any dust in their engines.
The airport was operating normally Wednesday, according to Rodriguez. It suffered no real damage, although the dust set off smoke alarms when it entered terminal buildings.
The "UFO" video from CNN
CNN affiliate KNXV-TV broadcast striking images of the storm's advance into the Phoenix area.
CNN iReporter Steve Siwek Jr. also documented the haboob.
"As someone who has been born and raised in Phoenix, I am very used to dust storms," Siwek said. "This one however was unreal. It felt like a movie with its massive size and deep coloration."
Ellis said the density of the dust was notable. He likened its appearance to "dirty snow."
"Somebody was in line at a car wash and never saw so many cars," he told CNN Wednesday afternoon.
More than 10,000 customers were without power at the height of the storm, said spokeswoman Jenna Shaver of the Arizona Public Service.
Haboob comes from the Arabic word for wind and is used to describe sand and dust storms across the world. They usually occur during the summer monsoon season in the Southwest.
In addition to visibility that can cause accidents, haboobs can also uproot trees, damage roofs and bring down power lines.
Some of that occurred in several Arizona cities, including Paradise and Chandler. Trees and other items were uprooted and dust covered building tops and parking lots.
There was a possibility of another, but diminished, dust storm Wednesday night, according to Ellis. There was only a slight chance of a thunderstorm.
IReporter Christian Medrano, 18, of Tempe submitted a flip video of the incident.
"For the brief time the doors were open, a very fine film of dust developed around the house," the college student said. "Physically, we weren't too affected other than dust in the eyes."
Pressure from the United Patriots Front Stops Mosque Plan 2016-04-28 20:10
Pressure from the United Patriots Front appears to have killed off a mosque development in Narre Warren North.
The City of Casey council now looks likely to withhold planning approval for the development in a special meeting set for Tuesday night.
A council report, to be considered by councillors on Tuesday, recommends that the approval be blocked.
The mosque opponents’ cause has been helped by councillor ...
Police face questions over the influence of the Freemasons 2016-04-28 20:48
South Yorkshire Police today face questions over whether powerful 'secret society' the Freemasons held sway over the force at the time of Hillsborough.
Families of victims say that officers who were Masons were promoted into powerful positions despite being ill-equipped, including match commander David Duckenfield.
Duckenfield told the fresh inquests he had been a Freemason since 1975 and became head of his ...
England Bans its Own Flag to Avoid Offending Muslims 2016-04-27 2:23 St. George's Cross "racist" towards immigrants
Government officials said their city was ‘too multicultural’ to celebrate St George’s Day, England’s version of the 4th of July.
The council said that displaying the English flag may have been seen as “racist” towards immigrants.
Half of Western European men descended from one Bronze Age ‘king’ 2016-04-27 2:09
Half of Western European men are descended from one Bronze Age ‘king’ who sired a dynasty of elite nobles which spread throughout Europe, a new study has shown.
The monarch, who lived around 4,000 years ago, is likely to have been one of the earliest chieftains to take power in the continent.
He was part of a new order which emerged in ...
"Local Residents" Are Filmed Stealing Dozens of Bottles of Water at London Marathon Stop 2016-04-25 23:10
Editor's Comment: "Local" residents? Why bother blurring their faces? We know who they are.
London marathon runners were robbed of dozens of bottled waters when thieves raided a refreshment area armed with trolleys during today's race.
Nearby residents - including parents with children - were captured on camera piling up crates of free water handed out by volunteers during the 26-mile event.