Just like Seattle can count on rain, and Chicago can assume windy days, Lubbock will have some days of dust storms. It's our signature weather. Lovely, right?

I guess it's somewhat cool that Lubbock frequently looks like the movie Dune. Long live the fighters!

But what about 2024? Can we count on a dusty season?


Historically speaking, Lubbock's dustiest season is February through May, although a dust storm can happen any time of year. It is now the middle of March and while we've had a couple of dusty days, it hasn't been that bad.

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Perhaps it seems that way because last year we got walloped in late February. The air quality became some of the worst in the country, and we made regional headlines for its duration and intensity.

So what's the difference between this year and last? And will our luck last?

Last year, the U.S. was in a La Nina weather pattern, while 2024 shifted into an El Nino pattern. In our area, an El Nino year means more rain, and with more rain comes less dust.

Dry is only half of the equation, the other being windy. Wind is caused by the uneven heating of the earth's surface by the sun. In an El Nino year, the temperature of the sea is hotter, so trade winds weaken.


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I wasn't able to find how this affects Lubbock wind per se, but it has seemed less intensely windy this year.

For these reasons, I believe we will have a significantly less dusty year than 2023, but the weather always has many variables and can only be predicted with any reliability a few days in advance. Here's hoping I'm right, right?

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