Dust Storm Warning: Burners Brace for Challenging Weather at Burning Man 2023

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JJ Simms of Colorado takes shelter behind an umbrella as she walks through a dust storm at Burning Man 2023.

BLACK ROCK CITY, Nev. — Increasing winds were sending whiteout clouds of dust through the Burning Man encampment on Thursday afternoon, with the promise of worsening weather Friday.

At times the dust was thick enough to obscure seeing more than a few feet at a time, although conditions remained far milder than the searing heat and whiteouts of the 2022 burn — widely considered one of the hardest in recent memory. Burning Man’s temporary home is the Black Rock Desert, one of the world’s largest flat surfaces, and the alkaline dust forming the ground whips into the air once disturbed by the estimated 61,000 people attending.

The National Weather Service warned people across northern Nevada to heed forecasts for winds gusting up to 40 mph: “Winds of this magnitude will cause problems for outdoor recreation … and blowing dust on and downwind of desert playas.”

Related:How dangerous is playa dust at Burning Man for your health?

Said Burning Man officials on X, formerly known as Twitter: “Secure your camp, keep your possessions safe at all times. It’s going to be a dusty one.”

The weather service said conditions were expected to calm after midnight, but showers were likely on Friday, along with a possible thunderstorm, along with significantly cooler temperatures.

The fine dust of the Black Rock Desert turns to a slippery, goopy mess when wet; rains a few days before the event officially began significantly delayed the construction of many art installations and residential camp structures.

Burning Man runs through Monday, with plans to set the large Man structure ablaze on Saturday night, followed by the Temple of the Heart building on Sunday. Several smaller-scale burns were planned for Thursday night, weather dependent.

Read more:Is everyone naked and high at Burning Man? Here’s what we found out

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