Dust Storm Over The Gulf Of California. Strong northeasterly winds whipped across southern California on December 26, 2015, dropping trees, toppling tractor-trailer trucks, and diverting airline travel, according to several local media reports. The wind, which gusted up to 60 mph (96.5 km/h) at the Ontario International Airport, also picked up large amounts of dust as it whipped across the region. Brown-out conditions due to heavy dust blowing in the wind brought traffic to a halt on the 215 Freeway.
The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA’s Aqua satellite flew over the gulf of California region while the dust was blowing and captured a true-color image of the event. While much of the sky in this image is crisp and clear, tan dust rises in southern California and blows strongly southward. Additional dust appears to join the storm in northern Mexico, and a thick river of dust is carried over the Gulf of California.
The Gulf of California (also known as the Sea of Cortez, Sea of Cortés (named for Spanish Conquistador Hernán Cortés) or Vermilion Sea; locally known in the Spanish language as Mar de Cortés or Mar Bermejo or Golfo de California) is a marginal sea of the Pacific Ocean that separates the Baja California Peninsula from the Mexican mainland. It is bordered by the states of Baja California, Baja California Sur, Sonora, and Sinaloa with a coastline of approximately 4,000 km (2,500 mi). Rivers which flow into the Gulf of California include the Colorado, Fuerte, Mayo, Sinaloa, Sonora, and the Yaqui. The gulf’s surface area is about 160,000 km2 (62,000 sq mi). Depths range from fording at the estuary near Yuma, Arizona, to in excess of 3,000 meters (9,800 ft) in the deepest parts.