Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(And in (the tribe of) 'Aad) the people of Hud ((there is a portent) when We sent) We set on them (the fatal wind against them) the severe wind in which there was no comfort for them, this is the west wind.
And [also] in, the destruction of, ‘Ād, was a sign, when We unleashed against them a barren wind, [a wind] which brings nothing of good, for it does not bear any rain and does not pollinate any trees; this [wind] was the west wind (al-dabūr).
(And in `Ad when We sent against them the barren wind) that destroys everything and produces nothing. This was said by Ad-Dahhak, Qatadah and others. Allah's statement,
مَا تَذَرُ مِن شَىْءٍ أَتَتْ عَلَيْهِ
(It spared nothing that it reached,) meaning, everything that the wind could destroy,
إِلاَّ جَعَلَتْهُ كَالرَّمِيمِ
(but blew it into broken spreads of rotten ruins.) meaning, made it just like a rotten and destroyed. Sa`id bin Al-Musayyib and others commented on:
إِذْ أَرْسَلْنَا عَلَيْهِمُ الرِّيحَ الْعَقِيمَ
(when We sent against them the barren wind),"Southerly winds.'' However, there is a Hadith in the Sahih from Shu`bah bin Al-Hakam, from Mujahid, from Ibn `Abbas, who said that the Messenger of Allah said,
(And in Thamud, when they were told: "Enjoy yourselves for a while!'' But they insolently defied the command of their Lord, so the Sa`iqah overtook them while they were looking.) Thamud were given a respite for three days, during which they await the torment. In the early morning of the fourth day, the torment overtook them,
فَمَا اسْتَطَـعُواْ مِن قِيَامٍ
(Then they were unable to rise up,) they were unable to escape and run away from it,
وَمَا كَانُواْ مُنتَصِرِينَ
(nor could they help themselves.) nor could they save themselves from the torment that befell them. Allah the Exalted and Most Honored said,
وَقَوْمَ نُوحٍ مِّن قَبْلُ
((So were) the people of Nuh before them.) meaning, `We destroyed the people of Nuh before these people (Fir`awn, `Ad and Thamud).'
إِنَّهُمْ كَانُواْ قَوْماً فَـسِقِينَ
(Verily, they were a people who were revellious.) We mentioned these stories in details before in the Tafsir of several other Surahs.
Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
The word used for this wind is aqim, which is used for a barren woman, though literally it means dry. If the literal meaning is taken it would mean that it was such an intensely hot and dry wind that on whatever it blew it caused it to become absolutely dry; and if it is taken in the idiomatic sense it would mean that like a barren woman it was a wind without any benefit: neither it was pleasant, nor it brought rain, nor fertilized the trees, nor contained any other benefit for which the wind blows. At other places it has been stated that this wind was not only useless and dry but it blew so violently that it swept the people off the ground and it continued to rage for eight days and seven nights continuously, till it laid the entire land of the `Ad waste. (For explanation, see E.N.'s 20, 21 of Surah Ha Mim As-Sajdah, and E.N.'s 25 to 28 of Al-Ahqaf).