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Let’s Talk “HABOOB” People…

Image courtesy of Daniel Bryant

The response to yesterday’s Holy Haboob! post made me shout, “HOLY HABOOB!” Of course, we did have some folks asking why we used the term “haboob” to describe Tuesday’s massive dust storm… in truth, I don’t know. That is, I know why I used it, but I had never heard of the word until everyone started making a big hubbub about the big haboob.

Well, this morning, I decided to try and find out when this word made it into our everyday vernacular… like “monsoon” or “TARP”… Turns out, the word isn’t just made-up slang… it’s actually a word used by meteorologists to describe these types of weather events — although, I will say I think it’s on the verge of becoming overused by some media types.

Check out what Weather.com has to say about haboob:

Haboobs are dust storms caused by strong winds flowing downward and outward from thunderstorms, kicking up dust in dry desert areas. According to our Severe Weather Expert Dr. Greg Forbes, upward motion on the leading edge of the gusty winds and turbulent motions within the strong winds stirs up the dust into a layer several thousand feet thick. This then creates images of huge walls of dust in the southwestern United States (particularly Arizona), like the one below.

The word comes from another part of the world where dust storms are common, the Middle East and northern Africa. According to the American Meteorological Society glossary, the term is derived from the Arabic word habb, which means wind.

There ya go… Hello HABOOB. Sayonara dust storms. For more on our haboob, take a look at the slideshow below… A HUGE THANK YOU to everyone who submitted images!

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