Yes, haboobs happen in Arizona

It’s the great Monsoon debate whose responses could fill up the Grand Canyon.

While the phrase “haboob” originally described sandstorms in Sudan, the term has been used in conjunction with Arizona’s dust storms for decades. In a 1972 article from the National Weather Service, a dust storm event is referenced as a “haboob”.

To quote the article: “Although true haboobs are generally more frequent around Khartoum in the Sudan, they also regularly occur in this section of the United States”.

In addition, the American Meteorological Society’s definition of haboob includes the mention of Arizona & the Sonoran Desert. According to the National Weather Service, a dust storm/haboob is labeled as such when visibility is lower than 1/2 mile and 30+ MPH winds are observed.

Haboob isn’t the only Arabic word that’s commonly used. Other words coming from Arabic origin include:

– Monsoon

– Tangerine

– Coffee

– Algebra

– Sofa

Is it just a dust storm? Can you call it a haboob? In short, neither phrase is wrong.


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