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Simoom (Arabic : سمومsamūm; from the root س م مs-m-m, سم "to poison") is a strong, dry, dust-laden wind. The word is generally used to describe a local wind that blows in the Sahara, Israel, Jordan, Syria, and the deserts of Arabian Peninsula. Its temperature may exceed 54 °C (129 °F) and the humidity may fall below 10%.
Alternative spellings include samoon, samun, simoun, and simoon. Another name used for this wind is samiel (Turkish samyeli from Arabic sāmm سامّ meaning poisonous and Turkish yel meaning wind). Simoom winds have an alternative type occurring in the region of Central Asia known as "Garmsil" (гармсель).
The name means "poison wind" and is given because the sudden onset of simoom may also cause heat stroke. This is attributed to the fact that the hot wind brings more heat to the body than can be disposed of by the evaporation of perspiration.
The Nuttall Encyclopædia described the simoom:
The storm moves in cyclone (circular) form, carrying clouds of dust and sand, and produces on humans and animals a suffocating effect.
A 19th-century account of simoom in Egypt reads:
Egypt is also subject, particularly during the spring and summer, to the hot wind called the "samoom," which is still more oppressive than the khamasin winds, but of much shorter duration, seldom lasting longer than a quarter of an hour or twenty minutes. It generally proceeds from the south-east or south-south-east, and carries with it clouds of dust and sand.
It has been alleged that a "simoom" occurred on June 17, 1859 in Goleta and Santa Barbara, California. Local historian Walker Tompkins wrote that:
...during the morning, the temperature hovered around the normal 24 to 27 °C (75 to 81 °F), but around 1pm, strong super hot winds filled with dust began to blow from the direction of the Santa Ynez Mountains to the north. By 2 pm, the temperature supposedly reached 56 °C (133 °F). This temperature was said to have been recorded by an official U.S. coastal survey vessel that was operating in the waters just offshore, in the Santa Barbara Channel. At 5 pm, the temperature had reportedly dropped to 50 °C (122 °F), and by 7 pm, the temperature was back to a normal 25 °C (77 °F).
Tompkins provided a supposed quote from a U.S. government report saying, "Calves, rabbits and cattle died on their feet. Fruit fell from trees to the ground scorched on the windward side; all vegetable gardens were ruined. A fisherman in a rowboat made it to the Goleta Sandspit with his face and arms blistered as if he had been exposed to a blast furnace."Also according to Tompkins, local inhabitants were saved from the heat by seeking shelter in the thick adobe walled houses that were the standard construction at the time.
However, experts contest this account. UCSB Professor Joel Michaelsen, for instance, said:
I have never found any outside source to validate Tompkins' story, and I am highly skeptical of its veracity. I don't doubt that strong hot, dry downslope winds could kick up lots of dust and produce very high temperatures – but in the 110 F – 115 F range at most. The 133 F just isn't physically reasonable, as it would require the creation of an extremely hot air mass somewhere to the northeast. Last Monday's weather was a very good strong example of the sort of conditions that would produce such a heat wave, and our temperatures topped out at least 20 degrees below Tompkins' figure. Stronger winds could have increased the heating a bit, but not nearly that much. Add to all that meteorologically-based skepticism Tompkins' well-known tendency to mix liberal doses of fiction into his 'histories,' and I think you have a strong case for discounting this one.
Meteorologist Christopher C. Burt wrote about the alleged incident:
There is no record of who made this measurement or exactly where it was made in Santa Barbara. Some later sources say it was made on a U.S. coastal geo-survey vessel. If that is the case then the temperature is not possible since the waters off Santa Barbara in June are never warmer than about 70°F and any wind blowing over the ocean would have its temperature modified by the cool water no matter how hot the air. This report is singular and there is physical evidence (burnt crops and dead animals) that something amazing happened here this day, but the temperature record is impossible to validate."
Edgar Allan Poe's short story "MS. Found in a Bottle" (1833) features a storm off the coast of Java, wherein "every appearance warranted me [the protagonist-narrator] in apprehending a Simoom."
In the political essay "Chartism", Thomas Carlyle argues that even the poorest of men who have resigned themselves to misery and toil cannot resign themselves to injustice because they retain an innate sense that a higher (divine) justice must govern the world: "Force itself, the hopelessness of resistance, has doubtless a composing effect against inanimate Simooms, and much other infliction of the like sort, we have found it suffice to produce complete composure. Yet one would say a permanent Injustice even from an Infinite Power would prove unendurable by men."
Walden (1854), by Henry David Thoreau, references a simoom; he uses it to describe his urge to escape something most unwanted. "There is no odor so bad as that which arises from goodness tainted. It is human, it is divine, carrion. If I knew for a certainty that a man was coming to my house with the conscious design of doing me good, I should run for my life, as from that dry and parching wind of the African deserts called the simoom, which fills the mouth and nose and ears and eyes with dust till you are suffocated, for fear that I should get some of his good done to me – some of its virus mingled with my blood. No – in this case I would rather suffer evil the natural way."
In his 1854 novel Hard Times , Charles Dickens in describing the oppressive midsummer heat of the sooty, smoky factories of Coketown, writes, "The atmosphere of those Fairy palaces was like the breath of the simoom; and their inhabitants, wasting with heat, toiled languidly in the desert" (book 2, chapter 1). In American Notes Dickens also describes "that injurious [political] Party Spirit" as "the Simoom of America, sickening and blighting everything of wholesome life within its reach."
In Bram Stoker's novel Dracula (1897), Lucy, describing the appearance of Dracula in her room, writes in her journal entry on September 17 that "a whole myriad of little specks seemed to come blowing in through the broken window, and wheeling and circling round like the pillar of dust that travellers describe when there is a simoom in the desert."
In James Joyce's novel A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1914), there is a reference to "Stephen's heart [withering] up like a flower of the desert that feels the simoom coming from afar."
In Sinclair Lewis' novel Main Street (1920), there is a reference to "Aunt Bessie's simoom of questioning."
In keeping with its tradition of naming its aircraft engines after winds, the Wright Aeronautical R-1200 of 1925 was called the Simoon.
A simoon strikes during chapter 2 of the film serial Tarzan the Tiger (1929).
In Making a President (1932), H. L. Mencken refers to "a veritable simoon of hiccups."
In Patrick O'Brian's novel Post Captain (1972), Diana Villiers' mentally troubled cousin, Edward Lowndes, upon learning that Doctor Maturin is a naval surgeon, remarks, "Very good – you are upon the sea but not in it: you are not an advocate for cold baths. The sea, the sea! Where should we be without it? Frizzled to a mere toast, sir; parched, desiccated by the simoom, the dread simoom."
A song titled "Simoon" features on the Yellow Magic Orchestra's eponymously titled album that was released in 1978. The Creatures have a song called "Simoom" on their 1989 album Boomerang , with lyrics such as "Simoom, simoom... you breathe in suffocation / Relentless simoom, blow and whistle this tune".
In the film The English Patient (1996) there is a scene in which Count László Almásy regales Katharine Clifton with histories of named winds, one of them being the "Simoon." Alluding to the records of Herodotus, Almásy tells Katharine that there was once a certain Arabic people who deemed the "Simoon" so evil that they marched out to meet it ranked as an army, "their swords raised."
In the collectible card game Magic: the Gathering, card named "Simoon" first appeared in the Visions expansion set on a fictional continent of Jamuraa. This card saw play in the sideboard of contemporary Type II decks and was especially effective against the popular Five Colours Green decks that heavily relied on small creatures with toughness of 1.
The Santa Ana winds are strong, extremely dry downslope winds that originate inland and affect coastal Southern California and northern Baja California. They originate from cool, dry high-pressure air masses in the Great Basin.
Goleta is a city in southern Santa Barbara County, California, USA. It was incorporated as a city in 2002, after a long period as the largest unincorporated populated area in the county. As of the 2000 census, the census-designated place had a total population of 55,204; however, a significant portion of the census territory of 2000 did not incorporate into the new city. The population was 29,888 at the 2010 census. It is known for being near the University of California, Santa Barbara campus, although the CDP of Isla Vista is closer to the campus.
A föhn or foehn is a type of dry, warm, down-slope wind that occurs in the lee of a mountain range.
The Harmattan is a season in the West African subcontinent, which occurs between the end of November and the middle of March. It is characterized by the dry and dusty northeasterly trade wind, of the same name, which blows from the Sahara Desert over West Africa into the Gulf of Guinea. The name is related to the word haramata in the Twi language. The temperature is cold in most places, but can also be hot in certain places, depending on local circumstances.
The Loo is a strong, dusty, gusty, hot and dry summer wind from the west which blows over the western Indo-Gangetic Plain region of North India and Pakistan. It is especially strong in the months of May and June. Due to its very high temperatures, exposure to it often leads to fatal heatstrokes.
Located in Goleta, California, the South Coast Railroad Museum is a showplace for the Goleta Depot, a preserved 1901 Southern Pacific Railroad train station. The museum also features a miniature railroad, a Southern Pacific caboose, and a model train set in a panorama of the cities of Goleta and Santa Barbara, California.
California's climate varies widely from hot desert to polar, depending on latitude, elevation, and proximity to the coast. California's coastal regions, the Sierra Nevada foothills, and much of the Central Valley have a Mediterranean climate, with warmer, drier weather in summer and cooler, wetter weather in winter. The influence of the ocean generally moderates temperature extremes, creating warmer winters and substantially cooler summers in coastal areas.
The climate of San Diego, California is classified as a Mediterranean climate. The basic climate features hot, sunny, and dry summers, and cooler, wetter winters. However, San Diego is much more arid than typical Mediterranean climates, and winters are still dry compared with most other zones with this type of climate.
The climate of Delhi is an overlap between monsoon-influenced humid subtropical and semi-arid, with high variation between summer and winter temperatures and precipitation. Delhi's version of a humid subtropical climate is markedly different from many other humid subtropical cities such as Sao Paulo, New Orleans and Brisbane in that the city features dust storms and wildfire haze due to its semi-arid climate.
A sundowner is a northerly offshore wind in Santa Barbara, California. It occurs when a region of high pressure is directly north of the area, the coast of which trends east–west. This contrasts with the more typical onshore flow. The winds blow with greatest force when the pressure gradient is perpendicular to the axis of the Santa Ynez Mountains, which rise directly behind Santa Barbara. These winds often precede Santa Ana events by a day or two, as it is normal for high-pressure areas to migrate east, causing the pressure gradients to shift to the northeast.
The history of Santa Barbara, California, begins approximately 13,000 years ago with the arrival of the first Native Americans. The Spanish came in the 18th century to occupy and Christianize the area, which became part of Mexico following the Mexican War of Independence. In 1848, the expanding United States acquired the town along with the rest of California as a result of defeating Mexico in the Mexican–American War. Santa Barbara transformed then from a dusty cluster of adobes into successively a rowdy, lawless Gold Rush era town; a Victorian-era health resort; a center of silent film production; an oil boom town; a town supporting a military base and hospital during World War II; and finally it became the economically diverse resort destination it remains in the present day. Twice destroyed by earthquakes, in 1812 and 1925, it was rebuilt in a Spanish Colonial style.
Ellwood Oil Field and South Ellwood Offshore Oil Field are a pair of adjacent, partially active oil fields adjoining the city of Goleta, California, about twelve miles (19 km) west of Santa Barbara, largely in the Santa Barbara Channel. A richly productive field in the 1930s, the Ellwood Oil Field was important to the economic development of the Santa Barbara area. The Japanese submarine I-17 shelled the area during World War II, the first direct naval bombardment of the U.S. continent of the war, causing an invasion scare on the West Coast.
Egypt essentially has a hot desert climate. The climate is generally extremely dry all over the country except on the northern Mediterranean coast which receives rainfall in winter. In addition to rarity of rain, extreme heat during summer months is also a general climate feature of Egypt although daytime temperatures are more moderated along the northern coast.
Dubai has a hot desert climate. Dubai has two distinct seasons - summer and winter. Summer in Dubai begins around the last week of April and ends around the first week of October. This period is characterized by hot weather, warm winds and high humidity. Due to the city's close proximity to the sea the temperatures in Dubai are milder in summer in comparison to other Gulf cities such as Kuwait City and Riyadh. However this means the city has a high humidity which can make the weather very unpleasant. Rainfall is scarce during the summer months, but the windy conditions ensure there are frequent dust storms. Temperatures regularly climb above 38 °C (100 °F) during this period and fall to around 26 °C (79 °F) overnight. Winter in Dubai begins around the last week of October and lasts until the beginning of April. The winter season has the most pleasant weather, making it ideal for outdoor activities. Most of the precipitation takes place during this season. Strong thunderstorms are not uncommon to the city during this period, this is accompanied by strong north-westerly winds and lower temperatures. Average daytime high during the winter season is around 22 °C (72 °F) with overnight lows of 12 °C (54 °F). Rainfall has been increasing over the past few decades accumulating to 130 mm (5.12 in) per year.
A steam devil is a small, weak whirlwind over water that has drawn fog into the vortex, thus rendering it visible.
The Great Bakersfield Dust Storm of 1977 was a severe dust storm in the Southern San Joaquin Valley, California. It started in the late evening on December 19, 1977 and ended in the afternoon of December 21. It resulted in 3 deaths and $40 million in damages.
Khamsin, chamsin or hamsin, more commonly known in Egypt as khamaseen, is a dry, hot, sandy local wind affecting Egypt and Israel; similar winds, blowing in other parts of North Africa, the Arabian Peninsula and the entire Mediterranean basin, have different local names, such as bad-i-sad-o-bist roz in Iran and Afghanistan, haboob in the Sudan, aajej in southern Morocco, ghibli in Tunis, harmattan in the western Maghreb, africo in Italy, sirocco which blows in winter over much of the Middle East, and simoom.
The Whittier Fire was a wildfire in the Santa Ynez Mountains, south of Lake Cachuma, along Highway 154 in Santa Barbara County, California in the United States. The fire was reported on July 8, 2017, at 1:43 pm. Upon containment on July 28, the fire had burned a total of 18,430 acres (75 km2) and destroyed 16 homes.
Samūm is a demon in Ancient Arabic lore and later Islamic beliefs. As a kind of fire, it is also the origin of some kinds of evil spirits and further identified with both the fires of hell and the fire of the sun. The Samum probably originated from Jewish lore as an anthropomorphization of poisonous wind, which was probably also the origin of the concept of Samael and his lesser devils. Islam further developes the relation between the fires of Samum and Satan by asserting, that he or at least his minor devils, are created from the fires of Samum.