WEATHER AND EARTHLY PHENOMENON THESAURUS

DUST OR SANDSTORM



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HELPFUL TIP:

Don’t be afraid to pair weather conditions with your setting choice to contrast or reinforce a character’s emotions. Hopelessness might be mirrored in the relentless drizzle of rain and the resulting heavy drag of one’s clothes; alternatively, this feeling can stand out in stark contrast to sunlight dancing over fresh snow. Can weather also provide symbolism, thereby enriching the reader’s experience? Think about your goal for the scene and the mood you are trying to create, and then layer your description with meaningful choices.
SIGHTS:
Before:
Leading up to the dust storm, the sky is blue and the winds are calm. A random glance to the horizon reveals a wall of brown air stretching high. The size (up to 60 mi/100 km wide and several km high) makes it clear that the cloud is not smoke. A dust storm, also known by the Arabic word “haboob,” is on the way.  They usually approach with very little warning. The flat wall of brown makes it difficult to judge how far away it is unless the observer is elevated above the landscape.  By the time the cloud’s proximity is apparent, it’s within a half-mile and observers might have less than a minute to seek shelter.
During:
Strong winds bending trees
Branches whipping side to side
A false, orange-tinged dusk
Landmarks (even a couple hundred feet away) disappear behind the dirty air
People, animals, and birds fleeing or seeking shelter
Cars hastily pulling over or stopping on roads, lights on, to wait out the storm
Hanging signs or lightly secured road signs jerking or bending at the force of wind
After:
A fine layer of dust coating everything exposed
A haze of dust visible for days
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SMELLS:
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TASTES:
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TEXTURES AND SENSATIONS:
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SOUNDS:
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REINFORCING A MOOD:
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SYMBOLISM:
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WEATHER NOTES:
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SCENARIOS FOR ADDING CONFLICT OR TENSION:
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