The storm began as a mild weather disturbance, one fairly common for that time of year. For several days in early June 1914, a hot dry breeze had come of the Sahara Desert to pass over the winter-cooled waters of the eastern Mediterranean. By the morning of the ninth, this convergence had spawned a strong southwesterly wind, one that grew in intensity as it made landfall over southern Palestine. By the time it approached Beersheva, a small village on the edge of the Zin Desert some twenty-five miles inland, this wind threatened to trigger a khamsin, or sandstorm.
-Scott Anderson, Lawrence In Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly and the Making of the Modern Middle East