Weather Education: What is a Haboob?

Weather Education: What is a Haboob?

The term Haboob (one of my all time favorite weather terms because I will always have a 12 year old sense of humor) is Arabic in origin and means blasting or drifting.  

Haboobs are powerful dust storms that can happen anywhere but are most often seen around northern Africa and the southwestern US. What do those regions have in common? A lot of hot, dry air and loose particles.

Haboobs form when a thunderstorm collapses and either all the air it collected is blown out in powerful gusts, or the air within it cools and falls rapidly to the surface in a microburst. The strong winds it releases are pushed in front of the storm and pick up dust and debris to create a wall thousands of feet high and miles across. There’s no outrunning these massive storms, so make sure to be in a safe place indoors ahead of time!

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