“Toxic” Dust Storm Hits Burning Man, Causing Total Whiteout

“Toxic” Dust Storm Hits Burning Man, Causing Total Whiteout

The final weekend of Burning Man nearly ended earlier as visibility deteriorated to zero during a massive dust storm. 

On Saturday, Burning Man’s official Twitter account tweeted the gates into the festival in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert were closed “due to whiteout conditions.” Event staff requested festivalgoers: 

“Do not drive. Vehicles are becoming stranded and lost on the playa.” 

The #BRC Gate is currently closed in both directions (ingress and egress) due to whiteout conditions. Do not drive. Vehicles are becoming stranded and lost on the playa. Delay your departure until the weather has cleared.

— Burning Man Project (@burningman) September 3, 2022

From a distance, the National Weather Service of Reno’s stationary cameras captured the moment when dust rolled across the festival area, severely impacting visibility for the tens of thousands of people. 

View from the Fox Mountain @AlertWildfire camera looking at dust blowing off the Black Rock Desert. At this point, dust is not impacting any major roadways, but it certainly is affecting a certain temporary city. Winds to continue through sunset before becoming lighter overnight. pic.twitter.com/ApYjICHvTw

— NWS Reno (@NWSReno) September 3, 2022

A passenger on a commercial flight captured a clearer view of the dust storm affecting the festival. 

The Chronicle says Burning Man got hit by a huge dust storm. Here it is from the air around 2:45PM Pacific time (on a commercial flight). Picture quality is junk, but if you zoom in you can see the street outline pic.twitter.com/sV3WYni5Vj

— Jonathan Claybaugh (@JonathanClayba1) September 4, 2022

The dust storm was so big that a weather satellite spotted it. 

Dust storm kicking up on the #BlackRockDesert. Looks like a “fun” day at #BurningMan pic.twitter.com/1knjxxGqcD

— Neil Lareau (@nplareau) September 3, 2022

On the ground, festivalgoers looked miserable on the last weekend of the nine-day event. The San Francisco Standard pointed out that the dust in the area is full of “alkaline” and is “quite toxic.” 

Total whiteout in daytime at times with gusting winds, can’t even locate the sun, at Burning Man, @SaigonTheKomodo and @Nican shown between Fur Camp and Coyote Garden pic.twitter.com/iImr8Lbkzx

— Spottacus (➡paw,mff) (@Spottacus) September 3, 2022

30mph winds are tearing apart our camp, and there’s fuck all we can do about it. Grey Skies (our big shelter) has lost half of her grommets already, just gotta ride it out and hunker down.

Burning man sucks, don’t come 🤗 pic.twitter.com/U8pVc78ke7

— Maly ❤️‍🔥 Burning Man (@malytwotails) September 3, 2022

San Francisco Chronicle said the dust storm nearly “ruined the annual torching of a giant wooden effigy.” But by late Saturday evening, the gates reopened, and around 2200 local time, the statue went up in flames. 

Toxic dust wasn’t the only thing festivalgoers had to worry about — daytime highs hit triple digits, sending some people home early.  

Tyler Durden
Mon, 09/05/2022 – 21:00

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