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Written by Brian Talamantes   

New word

All the wind and dry weather over the last few weeks that caused blowing fields has prompted me to come across a word that is new to me. I was never previously aware that there is a technical term for dust storms, but that word is haboob (pronounced huh-boob).

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said haboob is a derivation of the Arabic word haab, meaning wind or blow. I think that haboobs are more of a specific type of dust storm and may not necessarily describe what we’ve had here, but it is interesting nonetheless.

NOAA describes the formation of haboobs as “When air is forced down and pushed forward by the front of a traveling thunderstorm cell, it drags with it dust and debris. Winds of speeds up to 60 mph can stir up dust and sand and create a blowing wall as high as 10,000 feet. Haboobs usually last only 10 to 30 minutes but on rare occasions can last longer and create hazardous conditions for ground transportation systems, air traffic and motorists.”

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Holyoke Enterprise January 30, 2014