Dust storms are considered natural hazards that seriously affect atmospheric conditions, ecosystems and human health. A key requirement for investigating the dust life cycle is the analysis of the meteorological (synoptic and dynamic) processes that control dust emission, uplift and transport. The present work focuses on examining the synoptic and dynamic meteorological conditions associated with dust-storms in the Sistan region, southeastern Iran during the summer season (June–September) of the years 2001–2012. The dust-storm days (total number of 356) are related to visibility records below 1 km at Zabol meteorological station, located near to the dust source. RegCM4 model simulations indicate that the intense northern Levar wind, the high surface heating and the valley-like characteristics of the region strongly affect the meteorological dynamics and the formation of a low-level jet that are strongly linked with dust exposures. The intra-annual evolution of the dust storms does not seem to be significantly associated with El-Nino Southern Oscillation, despite the fact that most of the dust-storms are related to positive values of Oceanic Nino Index. National Center for Environmental Prediction/National Center for Atmospheric Research reanalysis suggests that the dust storms are associated with low sea-level pressure conditions over the whole south Asia, while at 700 hPa level a trough of low geopotential heights over India along with a ridge over Arabia and central Iran is the common scenario. A significant finding is that the dust storms over Sistan are found to be associated with a pronounced increase of the anticyclone over the Caspian Sea, enhancing the west-to-east pressure gradient and, therefore, the blowing of Levar. Infrared Difference Dust Index values highlight the intensity of the Sistan dust storms, while the SPRINTARS model simulates the dust loading and concentration reasonably well, since the dust storms are usually associated with peaks in model simulations. © 2014, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.