They’re at it again!
There’s a meteorological event in which a collapsing thunderstorm exhales a burst of wind. This burst of wind, an outflow, collects dust in the surrounding arid environment. That dust can grow into a towering, dark cloud that sweeps across the landscape and reduces visibility to almost zero.
In most places and most of the time, this is referred to as a sandstorm.
But dating back to the 1920s, meteorological types have been calling it by another term: haboob.
But when the National Weather Service reported that a haboob was on its way to Lubbock, Texas last year, those Lubbockans – Lubbockites? – Lubbockarians? – were less upset about the potential damage and inconvenience the haboob might cause than they were about the use of the term haboob.
And they responded angrily to the National Weather Service via Facebook.
According to one Texan who’s never going to be invited to join Mensa,
Haboob!?! I’m a Texan. Not a foreigner from Iraq or Afghanistan. They might have haboobs but around here in the Panhandle of TEXAS, we have Dust Storms. So would you mind stating it that way. I’ll find another weather service
What a threat! He’ll…he’ll…he’ll find another dang weather service! (And let us not overlook his decision to put “Texas” in all caps.)
Or this person who probably didn’t even get the automatic 400 points for spelling her name right when she took her SATs:
In Texas, nimrod, this is called a sandstorm. We’ve had them for years! If you would like to move to the Middle East you can call this a haboob. While you reside here, call it a sandstorm. We Texans will appreciate you.
They were as bad as the guy in Arizona who, during a similar event in 2011, somehow felt that using the term was disrespectful to “our troops”:
…am insulted that local TV news crews are now calling this kind of storm a haboob, How do they think our soldiers feel coming back to Arizona and hearing some Middle Eastern term?
What all these – well, let’s use the lady’s term – nimrods have overlooked is that we routinely use words in other languages to describe weather events. “Hurricane,” “tornado,” and “derecho” are all Spanish in origin; so are the very common weather terms “El Nino” and “La Nina;” and the word “tsunami” is in very common use in the U.S., and not just to describe weather, either, and it’s Japanese in origin.
The Curmudgeon has written about those wacky Texans in the past (including here, here, here, here, here, here, and oh yes, here, too). He doesn’t know what it is with them, but he’s starting to develop a theory:
It’s the damn cowboy hats those haboobians wear. They’re too tight and cutting off the circulation to the part of the brain where common sense resides.