An American Haboob Part 2

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PHOENIX – We get it, Royal. You don’t like the term haboob to describe dust storms in Arizona. We’ve read you quoting the American Meteorological Society’s Glossary of Meteorology:

Haboob- a strong wind and sandstorm or dust storm in northern and central Sudan, especially around Khartoum, where the average is about 24 a year. The name comes from the Arabic word habb, meaning “wind.”

Interesting to note is that the original haboob, according to the glossary, is not related to thunderstorms. 

Haboobs usually occur after a few days of rising temperature and falling pressure.

Really, we get it Royal, enough with your opinion. What about the case for using the term “haboob” to describe dust storms in Arizona?

The first mention of the term haboob applied to an American dust storm that I was able to find goes back to 1931 in Texas.

From the January “Monthly Weather Review” there is a story about a big dust storm in Big Spring, Texas and there’s a picture, something not very common in those days, of a dust storm. The author points out the picture bears a striking resemblance to some 1925 pictures of haboobs in the Sudan.

While not making the leap to calling the Big Spring storm a haboob, the author writes, “It appears, therefore, that there is a more than a superficial resemblance between the haboob and the Big Spring storm.”

Well, he’s right. They look pretty similar but it wasn’t until October of 1972, probably on Halloween night, that the first mention in the scientific journals of haboobs in Arizona.  More on that Wednesday.