Dust storm or haboob? A little weather history - East Valley Tribune: Weather

Dust storm or haboob? A little weather history

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Posted: Saturday, September 8, 2012 7:30 pm

During coverage of the massive dust storms that have recently hit the Valley, you might have picked up on a new word -- haboob.

So why don't we just say dust storm?

ABC15 meteorologist Amber Sullins says haboob is the correct technical term for what happened, and that term has been around for quite some time.

In a YouTube video from Arizona State University , geophysical sciences professor Randy Cerveny gives a "haboob" history lesson.

"A lot of the original terms for dust storm mechanics and the types of things that we see during dust storms was originally discovered by the British when they were in charge of the Middle East and they used local terms very often to describe these things," Cerveny explained. "So Arabic terms like haboob have gotten applied to dust storm events in general."

We're not the only country outside of the Middle East to use the term. Australia also uses it to describe their dust storms.

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