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Monday, September 8, 2014

Haboob - Do you know what it is?

Recently there was a dust storm in Phoenix.  See the article here. USA TODAY: Massive dust storm sweeps through Phoenix.  There was an iReport about it on CNN: Phoenix Haboob | September 6th, 2014.

I use this BLOG to offer analysis of articles spanning various topics.  The other thing I like to do is offer little tidbits I find interesting and perhaps have some educational value.  In this case it is the latter...

So what is a haboob?  Well check it out in Wikipedia: Haboob

Do give you a quick rundown here is the first part of the Wikipedia entry:

A haboob (Arabic: هَبوب‎ habūb "blasting/drafting") is a type of intense dust storm carried on an atmospheric gravity current. Haboobs occur regularly in arid regions throughout the world.
They have been observed in the Sahara desert (typically Sudan, where they were named and described), as well as across the Arabian Peninsula, throughout Kuwait, and in the most arid regions of Iraq. African haboobs result from the northward summer shift of the inter-tropical front into North Africa, bringing moisture from the Gulf of Guinea. Haboob winds in the Arabian Peninsula, Iraq, Kuwait, and North America are frequently created by the collapse of a thunderstorm, while haboobs in Australia may be frequently associated with cold fronts. The deserts of Central Australia, especially near Alice Springs, are particularly prone to haboobs, with sand and debris reaching several kilometers into the sky and leaving up to a foot of sand in the haboob's path.
The arid and semiarid regions of North America—in fact, any dry region—may experience haboobs. In North America the most common terms for these events is either dust storm or sandstorm. In the U.S., they frequently occur in the deserts of Arizona, including around the cities of Yuma and Phoenix—and in New Mexico and Texas. During thunderstorm formation, winds move in a direction opposite to the storm's travel, and they move from all directions into the thunderstorm. When the storm collapses and begins to release precipitation, wind directions reverse, gusting outward from the storm and generally gusting the strongest in the direction of the storm's travel.
(Photo: Rob Schumacher, The Arizona Republic) via USATODAY.com
I wrote this article on the suspicion that most people wouldn't know the word.  I know I didn't.  I think the fact that spell-checker points out every instance of haboob in this post suggests it is not commonly used or known.

 Happy vocabulary and watch out for the haboobs!

Cheers,
Nick

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