Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Enough With the Dust and Heat Already

I'm sure you're tired of hearing about it, but I assure you that you are not as tired of hearing about it as we are in living in it.

This is how a dust storm really looks. Imagine having this hanging in the air 24 hours a day for days on end. It gets in your hair, your teeth your throat, your lungs and licking your lips to rescue them from the heat of the day only ends up with a tongue full of dust.

I just know the day will come when some medical study, sponsored by the VA, will reveal that soldiers serving in Iraq are likely to suffer from some respiratory disease in connection with breathing this stuff for a year. Mark my words!

On a given morning you can wake from a nights rest to find that a layer of dust, not small amount, has settled on every exposed surface in your room. This is a sure sign a dust storm has arrived. Another tell tale sign of the advent of a dust storm is the color of the sunlight filtering through the suspended dust in the air. In your room the morning light shines through the window an amber or orange color.

I am told that this years dust storms are the worst seen here in several years. I haven't been tracking the exact number of days we have been "socked in" by these storms, but over the past three weeks I would say we are in the 75% range. It's simply amazing. But, here's the 
positive side. When the dust arrives, the temperatures drop. It's a trade-off, I know, dust or high temps. Pick your poison.

On the day I took this picture of the temperature the temp in the shade was 122, the temperature in direct sunlight was 126. When the dust comes in it can drop 10 - 15 degrees. I know, that still makes the temp in the low 100s, but it feels good. Heat is all relative here.


David M said...

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 07/10/2009 News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front.

1SG Martinez said...

Comment from LTC (ret) Claude McKinney:

Moisture does not aid in the elimination of Iraqi dust from any surface. Air cans only causes it to become airborne again to fall back onto your equipment later. Scrapers, moving slowly, will aid for a while, but then the pile gets large enough that it too become a resource for a new dust storm. Feather dusters work best.

My north living in Mosul was a pleasant thing in that we only had occasional dust storms, and lots of trees to aid in the knockdown of the dust. However, when I moved to Tikrit I learned what dust was all about.

Now you know I'm not a clean-freak, but when the forearms become gritty from movement on the desk while clicking away on the keyboard, something's got to give.

I really found it interesting to look up and see blue sky, look sideways and see only dust brown obscuring vision of all between 20 to 50 feet from you. On several occasions I had opportunity to ascend a tall structure during such a storm, most interesting to see how the disturbed dust held low to the ground. I guess in the really big and wild dust storms, the dust can be thousands of feet up, but most of what I experienced the dust hovered within 50 to 100 feet of the surface.

A face mask will give to you a brown mud sweat ring, but you can lick you lips.

The real key is to not break the crusted surface of the soil following the wet season. That is why the crust is there, to keep the dust under it.

We had to dust our living room the other week. You know how it is when the Salt Lake summer dust build up comes. We may have to do it again next month - we'll see, Ha! LOL.