Where Do Dust Storms Occur?

dust-storms-occur Credit: Sydney Oats/Flickr/CC-BY-2.0

According to NASA, dust storms can occur in any location where wind and exposed dirt is present. The most common location for dust storms are dry, arid regions.

Sand and dust storms are common in plains areas, such as the desert, because there is little vegetation to protect the soil from being picked up by harsh winds. NASA states that some of the largest dust storms on Earth are in Africa's Sahara desert and in the Asian Gobi desert. In the United States, dust storms are common in the Southwest and in some areas of the Midwest. Drought can increase the occurrence of dust storms.

While most dust particles travel only a short distance before returning to the ground, dust can travel hundreds of miles in some cases. For instance, dust from Africa affects the Caribbean.