KHAMSīN , CHAMSIN or HAMSIN (
Arabic : خمسين khamsīn,
"fifty"), more commonly known in
Egypt as KHAMASEEN (Egyptian
خماسين khamasīn, IPA: ), is a dry, hot, sandy local wind ,
blowing from the south, in
North Africa and the
Arabian Peninsula .
Similar winds in the area are sirocco and simoom . From the Arabic
word for "fifty", throughout the
Levant , these dry, sand-filled
windstorms often blow sporadically over a fifty-day period in Spring ,
hence the name.
When the storm passes over an area, lasting for several hours, it
carries great quantities of sand and dust from the deserts, with a
speed up to 140 kilometers per hour, and the humidity in that area
drops below 5%. Even in winter, the temperatures rise above 45°C due
to the storm. The sand storms are reported to have seriously impeded
both Napoleon's military campaigns in
Egypt as well as Allied-German
North Africa in
World War II
World War II
* 1 Causes and history
* 2 Cultural references
* 3 See also
* 4 References
* 5 External links
CAUSES AND HISTORY
Khamsin can be triggered by cyclones that move eastwards along the
southern parts of the Mediterranean or along the North African coast
from February to June.
Egypt , the khamsin usually arrives in April but occasionally can
occur between March and May, carrying great quantities of sand and
dust from the deserts, with a speed up to 140 kilometers per hour, and
a rise of temperatures as much as 20 °C in two hours. It is believed
to blow "at intervals for about 50 days", although it rarely occurs
"more than once a week and lasts for just a few hours at a time." A
19th-century account of the khamsin in
Egypt reports that
These winds, though they seldom cause the thermometer of Fahrenheit
to rise above 95° in Lower
Egypt , or in Upper
Egypt 105°, are
dreadfully oppressive, even to the natives. When the plague visits
Egypt, it is generally in the spring; and the disease is most severe
in the period of the khamáseen.
The same account relates that Muslims in
Egypt "calculate the period
of ... to commence on the day immediately following the Coptic
Easter Sunday , and to terminate on the Day of Pentecost
(or Whitsunday); an interval of forty-nine days."
During Napoleon 's 1798 Egyptian Campaign , the French soldiers had a
hard time with the khamsin: when the storm appeared "as a blood tint
in the distant sky", the natives went to take cover, while the French
"did not react until it was too late, then choked and fainted in the
blinding, suffocating walls of dust." During the North African
World War II
World War II , "Allied and German troops were several
times forced to halt in mid-battle because of sandstorms caused by the
khamsin... Grains of sand whirled by the wind blinded the soldiers and
created electrical disturbances that rendered compasses useless."
Israel , the khamsin (Hebrew : חמסין) is known more
formally as sharav (שרב), and the Biblical term for the khamsin is
ruaḥ qadīm (רוח קדים) or "east wind".
Egypt in 2007
* In Israel, the word khamsin carries political connotations. It was
the name of a magazine published during the 1970s and 1980s by a group
of Middle East exiles in Europe, including members of
Khamsin was also the title of a 1982 Israeli film about a clash
between a Jewish landowner and his Arab workers in a small farming
village in the
Galilee . The film was selected by the Israeli Film
Board as their nominee for the
Academy Award for best foreign-language
film in 1983.
The Alexandria Quartet by Lawrence Durrell also has a vivid
description of the Khamsin.
* "Khamsin" is the name of the third movement of the composition
Warm Winds , recorded by the Hollywood Saxophone Quartet in the 1950s.
* "Khamsin" was the codename of one of the characters from the video
game Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance .
* "Khamsin" was the name of a Flame Haze in the anime, Shakugan no
Maserati Khamsin is a grand tourer produced by Maserati
between 1974 and 1982.
* In The Adventures of Tintin, in the volume "Land of Black Gold",
Tintin, his dog Snowy and the twin detectives Thomson ">
* ^ Giles O.B.E, Bill. "The Khamsin". bbc.co.uk. Retrieved
* ^ "
Egypt Climate and Weather". Tour Egypt. Retrieved 2008-08-15.
* ^ OED online.
* ^ Humphreys, Andrew (2002). Cairo. Victoria: Lonely Planet. P.
* ^ Lane, Edward William (1973 ). An Account of the Manners and
Customs of the Modern Egyptians. With a new introduction by John
Manchip White. New York: Dover Publications. P. 2.
* ^ Lane, p. 488.
* ^ Burleigh, Nina (2007), Mirage, New York, Harper, p. 135.
* ^ DeBlieu, Jan (1998), Wind, New York, Houghton Mifflin, p. 57.
* ^ Philologos (April 4, 2003). "Fifty Days and Fifty Nights".
JewishForward.com. Archived from the original on 2007-04-26. Retrieved
* ^ "Khamsin". Matzpen. Retrieved 2008-08-15.
* ^ Kronish, Amy. "Arabs on Israeli Screens". Archived from the
original on 2007-01-26. Retrieved 2007-02-26.
* ^ "Oscar Film Critical of Israel". The New York Times. January
24, 1983. Retrieved 2007-02-26.
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