Wednesday, July 6, 2011

What in the blazes is going on in Arizona?

This summer has been a doozie for forest fires in our area.  Over 800 square miles charred in the Wallow Fire alone.  Luckily this year hasn't evacuated my parents ... yet!

Last week, a power transformer exploded and left us without any power for a few hours ... yep ... it was about 114 degrees that day.  Of course Garrison and his friends found a ride so that they could look up close and personal at that power plant disaster.  Luckily, my husband is part Macgyver and he just pulled some wires out of somewhere and cut them up and attached them somehow to something, and put a plug on something else, and hooked that something up to the house, and turned something on .... and we were one of the few in town with power for awhile.  My hero. 

But yesterday, yesterday is the one that will stay with me.  Because yesterday, a haboob hit my hometown.  Yep.  Little ole' Mesa had a haboob.  Now a haboob is a really big deal.  Just look at this video!

But let's face it.  It's not the dust that we're all thinking about.  It's not even that eerie looking monstrosity of a cloud.  It's the name.  Seriously?  Haboob?  Who named this big ball of dust anyway?  Well if you didn't already know ... it's actually Arabic.

According to Wikipedia:  

A haboob (Arabic هبوب) is a type of intense sandstorm commonly observed in arid regions throughout the world. They have been observed in the Sahara desert (typically Sudan), as well as across the Arabian Peninsula, throughout Kuwait, and in the most arid regions of Iraq.[1] 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 and Kuwait are frequently created by the collapse of a thunderstorm. The arid and semiarid regions of North America – in fact any dryland region – may experience haboobs. In the USA, they are frequently observed in the deserts of Arizona, including Yuma and Phoenix[2][3], as well as New Mexico and Texas [4]. During thunderstorm formation, winds move in a direction opposite to the storm's travel, and they will 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.[5][6][7]
When this downdraft, or "downburst", reaches the ground, dry, loose sand from the desert settings is essentially blown up, creating a wall of sediment preceding the storm cloud. This wall of sand can be up to 100 km (60 miles) wide and several kilometers in elevation. At their strongest, haboob winds can travel at 35-50 km/h (20-30 mph), and they may approach with little to no warning. Often rain is not seen at the ground level as it evaporates in the hot, dry air (a phenomenon known as virga), though on occasion when the rain does persist, the precipitation can contain a considerable quantity of dust (severe cases called "mud storms"). Eye and respiratory system protection are advisable for anyone who must be outside during a haboob -- moving to a place of shelter is highly desirable during a strong event.
Across North Africa and the Near East, there are many regional names for this unique sandstorm. The word haboob comes from the Arabic word هبوب "strong wind or 'phenomenon'."

All this being said ... it still cracks me up.  I'm way too immature for such weather terminology.  And I think that the weathermen saying the word got me going even more!  Standing there in their suit coats acting all serious like about the big haboob that was headed our way.  I've been giggling all day long just thinking of the word.  I even questioned it really being a word! 


Thanks for stopping by and giving me a chuckle as I look at the mess you left behind.

You big haboob.


wesley's mom (sue) said...

Haboob is the new favorite word around here. My kids are cracking themselves up.

Tina McKinnon said...

hahaha! Great post! I had the same reaction!! What a funny word... Channel 3's news people (mostly the women) were cracking up, too! xox