Your haboob is my dust storm

Haboob. It seems to be the hot new word with meteorologists this year. Those giant walls of dust that have swept over Phoenix, and now Lubbock, are being called “haboobs.” When I was a kid growing up in Oklahoma in the ’40s and ’50s, those things were called dust storms, period. Oklahoma was the heart of the Dust Bowl, and our dust storms were the tail end of that infamous era. Just plain ol’ dust storms. Somehow we communicated just fine without the highfalutin word “haboob,” which I’d never heard before this year.



Categories: Green

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4 replies

  1. My dictionary actually has “haboob” and says it is of Arabic origin, late 19th century. Maybe the meteorologists think they deserve a special name since such things haven’t been seen for some 80 years until now. I have seen several spectacular clips of these things now and I have to admit, they are scary as hell.

    • That’s why I’ve been so puzzled by the sudden popularity of the word this year. It has existed since about 1890, and yet it seems to have become widely used just this year. Until now, “dust storm” worked just fine. Probably just another example of the media parroting each other ad nauseam (remember “full-throated”?)

  2. My Grandfather in Montana used to say, “that there’s a lot of realestate flying ’round teday.”

"Opinion is the medium between knowledge and ignorance." ~ Plato

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