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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 (Persian samyeli). Simoom winds have an alternative type occurring in the region of Central Asia known as "Garmsil" (гармсель).
The Sahara is a desert located on the African continent. It is the largest hot desert in the world, and the third largest desert overall after Antarctica and the Arctic. Its area of 9,200,000 square kilometres (3,600,000 sq mi) is comparable to the area of China or the United States. The name 'Sahara' is derived from a dialectal Arabic word for "desert", ṣaḥra.
Israel, officially the State of Israel, is a country in Western Asia, located on the southeastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea and the northern shore of the Red Sea. It has land borders with Lebanon to the north, Syria to the northeast, Jordan on the east, the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza Strip to the east and west, respectively, and Egypt to the southwest. The country contains geographically diverse features within its relatively small area. Israel's economic and technological center is Tel Aviv, while its seat of government and proclaimed capital is Jerusalem, although the state's sovereignty over Jerusalem has only partial recognition.
Jordan, officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, is an Arab country in Western Asia, on the East Bank of the Jordan River. Jordan is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the south, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and Israel and Palestine to the west. The Dead Sea is located along its western borders and the country has a small coastline to the Red Sea in its extreme south-west, but is otherwise landlocked. Jordan is strategically located at the crossroads of Asia, Africa and Europe. The capital, Amman, is Jordan's most populous city as well as the country's economic, political and cultural centre.
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.
Heat stroke, also known as sun stroke, is a type of severe heat illness that results in a body temperature greater than 40.0 °C (104.0 °F) and confusion. Other symptoms include red, dry or damp skin, headache, and dizziness. Onset can be sudden or gradual. Complications may include seizures, rhabdomyolysis, or kidney failure.
Evaporation is a type of vaporization that occurs on the surface of a liquid as it changes into the gas phase. The surrounding gas must not be saturated with the evaporating substance. When the molecules of the liquid collide, they transfer energy to each other based on how they collide with each other. When a molecule near the surface absorbs enough energy to overcome the vapor pressure, it will escape and enter the surrounding air as a gas. When evaporation occurs, the energy removed from the vaporized liquid will reduce the temperature of the liquid, resulting in evaporative cooling.
Hyperthermia is a condition where an individual's body temperature is elevated beyond normal due to failed thermoregulation. The person's body produces or absorbs more heat than it dissipates. When extreme temperature elevation occurs, it becomes a medical emergency requiring immediate treatment to prevent disability or death.
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.
In meteorology, a cyclone is a large scale air mass that rotates around a strong center of low atmospheric pressure. Cyclones are characterized by inward spiraling winds that rotate about a zone of low pressure. The largest low-pressure systems are polar vortices and extratropical cyclones of the largest scale. Warm-core cyclones such as tropical cyclones and subtropical cyclones also lie within the synoptic scale. Mesocyclones, tornadoes and dust devils lie within smaller mesoscale. Upper level cyclones can exist without the presence of a surface low, and can pinch off from the base of the tropical upper tropospheric trough during the summer months in the Northern Hemisphere. Cyclones have also been seen on extraterrestrial planets, such as Mars and Neptune. Cyclogenesis is the process of cyclone formation and intensification. Extratropical cyclones begin as waves in large regions of enhanced mid-latitude temperature contrasts called baroclinic zones. These zones contract and form weather fronts as the cyclonic circulation closes and intensifies. Later in their life cycle, extratropical cyclones occlude as cold air masses undercut the warmer air and become cold core systems. A cyclone's track is guided over the course of its 2 to 6 day life cycle by the steering flow of the subtropical jet stream.
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.
Khamsin, chamsin or hamsin, more commonly known in Egypt as khamaseen, is a dry, hot, sandy local wind affecting Egypt; 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.
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 1 PM, 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.
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.
Santa Barbara is the county seat of Santa Barbara County in the U.S. state of California. Situated on a south-facing section of coastline, the longest such section on the West Coast of the United States, the city lies between the steeply rising Santa Ynez Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. Santa Barbara's climate is often described as Mediterranean, and the city has been promoted as the "American Riviera". As of 2014, the city had an estimated population of 91,196, up from 88,410 in 2010, making it the second most populous city in the county after Santa Maria. The contiguous urban area, which includes the cities of Goleta and Carpinteria, along with the unincorporated regions of Isla Vista, Montecito, Mission Canyon, Hope Ranch, Summerland, and others, has an approximate population of 220,000. The population of the entire county in 2010 was 423,895.
The Santa Ynez Mountains are a portion of the Transverse Ranges, part of the Pacific Coast Ranges of the west coast of North America. It is the westernmost range in the Transverse Ranges.
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." (p. 93 in the 1913 Chapman & Hall, Ltd. edition, online from Project Gutenberg).
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. Also, The Creatures have a song called "Simoom" on their 1989 album Boomerang .
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.
A föhn or foehn is a type of dry, warm, down-slope wind that occurs in the lee of a mountain range.
Diablo wind is a name that has been occasionally used for the hot, dry wind from the northeast that typically occurs in the San Francisco Bay Area of Northern California, during the spring and fall. The same wind pattern also affects other parts of California's coastal ranges. The term first appeared shortly after the 1991 Oakland firestorm, perhaps to distinguish it from the comparable, and more familiar, hot dry wind in Southern California known as the Santa Ana winds. In fact, in decades previous to the 1991 fire, the term "Santa Ana" was occasionally used as well for the Bay Area dry northeasterly wind, such as the one that was associated with the 1923 Berkeley Fire.
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.
In meteorology, a heat burst is a rare atmospheric phenomenon characterized by gusty winds along with a rapid increase in temperature and decrease in dew point (moisture). Heat bursts typically occur during night-time and are associated with decaying thunderstorms.
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 1901 Southern Pacific Railroad train station. The museum also features a miniature train ride, Southern Pacific caboose, and model train set in a panorama of the cities of Goleta and Santa Barbara, California.
The climate of Sydney is humid subtropical, shifting from mild and cool in winter to warm and hot in the summer, with no extreme seasonal differences as the weather is moderated by proximity to the ocean, although more contrasting temperatures are recorded in the inland western suburbs. Despite the fact that there is no distinct dry or wet season, rainfall peaks in the first half of the year and is at its lowest in the second half. Precipitation varies across the region, with areas adjacent to the coast being the wettest. The city receives around 20 thunderstorms per year.
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, has relatively dry short winters and has a prolonged spell of very hot weather, 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.
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 from around the last week of April and ends around the 1st week of October. This period is characterized by very hot weather. Due to the city's close proximity to the sea the temperatures in Dubai are milder in summer, when comparison with other Gulf Cities such as Kuwait City and Riyadh. 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 from around the last week of October and last's till 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.
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 type of fire in the Quran in reference to infernal heat and in Extra-Quranic accounts, also to a kind of demon created from this fire. In Quran 56:42 the tormenting fires of Jahannam are called samūm and it is also mentioned in Quran 15:26 as the origin of Jann. In non-Arabic Qur'anic translations, the term is often translated with "scorching fire" or "scorching winds", because apart from its Islamic usage, samūm also refers to a hot, dusty desert wind. Both terms may be linguistically related to Samael, an Archangel in Talmudic and post-Talmudic literature, who envied humanity and in charge of destructive demons, similar to the Islamic legends about demons created from samūm envying Adam.