One of the biggest sandstorms in recorded history was one that occurred in the Middle East according to the Huffington Post. It happened in the summer of 2009, and lasted for an entire week – the storm was so expansive, it could be seen from space.
Conditions are right for a sandstorm when winds are strong, and expansive, sandy areas are particularly dry. In these conditions, the upper layer of sand can be picked up by the wind, and propelled into the air. Sometimes the wind can carry the sand up to 5,000 feet, but sandstorms of this height are rare. They are particularly dangerous because they can block the sight of motorists, and sand can be inhaled into the lungs and blown into the ears and eyes.
Here’s a list of candidates: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dust_storm#Notable_dust_storms
It’s a fair bet that the largest sandstorm ever probably didn’t happen in recent history, but it certainly may have. What parameters you want to emphasize — pure size, duration, impact — also matter.
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