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Haboobs: One of Arizona’s most underrated weather hazards

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  “Haboobs” might make you giggle, but in reality they are more deadly than they are humorous. With Arizona’s monsoon season less than two months away, meteorologists Ken Drozd and Glenn Lader at the Tucson National Weather Service Office give an in-depth look at these giant dust storms — one of the underrated threats of the monsoon season. Haboobs are the No. 1 weather-related cause for injuries in Arizona, while ranking third-highest among weather-related fatalities — behind flooding and extreme heat respectively — according to a NOAA Technical Memorandum report on blowing dust and dust storms. Whether it’s because their name sounds funny, or the mere fact that  desert dwellers treat haboobs as a way of life, the dangers of these massive dust storms during the summertime thunderstorm season far outweigh the danger of being struck by lightning. And yet they don’t receive the recognition for the threat they...

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Getting street racing off the streets.

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The City of Tucson is cracking down on dangerous street racing by passing a stricter ordinance against racing, while Jim Hughes, owner of The Tucson Dragway has another solution: embrace the need for speed by opening up the track and give the hot rod community a safe alternative place to race their muscle cars. “I think it’s a pretty good incentive to get them to stay off the streets and race legally on the track,” said Hughes. “I absolutely think the ordinance is going to push them to come here and stay off the streets, and it’s not even necessarily the $2,500 fine, it’s the impounding of your car and you don’t get it back.” The new ordinance that was passed by city council on Wednesday will make for more severe punishments if caught racing on city streets or highways....

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Will wall stop resilient San Pedro River from crossing the border?

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The mighty San Pedro River in Southeastern Arizona and Northern Mexico has survived droughts, floods, fires and wars, but will the Trump administration’s proposal to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexican border threaten one of the last undammed rivers in the United States? The river flows north out of Mexico and across the border into the United States near Hereford. The river has a rich cultural, ecological and historical record, and is the lifeblood to the small communities that have sprouted up along its banks. It also impacts a riparian area that is home to more than 250 migratory birds and more than 100 species of breeding birds, including the yellow-billed cuckoo. The riparian area of the San Pedro is also home to 84 species of mammals such as jaguars, coatimundi, beavers and bats. It is here in Southern Arizona where concerns...

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Winter storms bring welcome rains and drought relief, but is it enough?

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Recent storms and mountain snow delivered short-term drought relief created happy farmers, brought wildflowers that add color to attract tourists and replenished the water supply. But is one month of above-average precipitation enough to wipe away a decade-long drought in the Southwest? Not according to climate researcher Ben McMahan. “When comparing drought improvement, we have to remember the long term vs. the short term.  It takes time for the long-term deficit to build up. One great month didn’t really make up the difference of the next couple months not being that great,” said McMahan, research outreach and assessment specialist for the Climate Assessment for the Southwest (CLIMAS) program. McMahan said that although the recent January rains have been a pleasant surprise during a La Niña year — which is typically characterized with below-average precipitation — the region still faces long-term drought recovery. Nick Buckelew,...

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