Is this weather-related term an acceptable word?

By: Matt McGovern Email
By: Matt McGovern Email
The term "haboob" has led to questions from many.

A haboob is the same thing as a dust storm.

BROWNSVILLE, TX (KVEO) - Last week, the Panhandle region saw a massive dust storm forming and it wasn't the dust storm that got some Texans a bit riled. It was the meteorological term.

As some are starting to discover this amazing world of weather, there are some terms that are still a bit foreign, and Haboob is one of them.

It's a fun word to say, and to spell. But the meaning of the word is everything but fun.

Haboob is basically a dust storm or sand storm that will cause near-zero visibility in blowing dust and strong winds of 50+ mph.

And if you were wondering what origin this word is from, well it's not English.

It's actually an arabiac word and if you look it up in the meteorology dictionary you will find it defined as such:

A strong wind and sandstorm or dust storm in northern and central Sudan, especially around Khartoum, where the average number is about 24 a year.

The uproar is caused because of just that.

It's not an American word nor is it defined to be a weather event to takes place in America. This event is called a dust storm or sand storm, not a haboob. So why use it?

This logic was used in some parts of West Texas, where one TV station posted a warning last week saying residents in Lubbock should use percaution out on the roads if traveling due to a haboob forming.

As silly as it sounds many people were upset about it rather than focusing on the real problem.

Just so it's clear, using the word haboob is no different than using the word Tornado. The origin of this word is actually Spanish.

Haboobs are most frequent from May through September, especially in June, but they have occurred in every month except November.

And they will continue to form especially throughout the season since it has been pretty dry in certain parts of Texas.

The average duration for these sand storms is around three hours.

They are most severe in April and May when the soil is driest. They may approach from any direction, but most commonly from the north in winter and from the south, southeast, or east in summer.

Brownsville doesn't see too many of these, especially because they hardly get too dry around there.


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