Haboobs and Sandstorms for Dummies
The first time I heard the word 'Haboob,' I thought it was a load of BS. I'm guess I'm different from a lot people in that I like to learn, so I found out why the word didn't mean 'sandstorm.'
The prevailing thing you hear around here is, 'when I was a kid, they were called sandstorms.' Well, that could be because one of two reasons.
- We have been getting more actual haboobs, or
- Your parents were just country folk who didn't have access to a decent amount of scientific knowledge and/or a vocabulary.
Let's do this one more time.
You know those days that start out breezy and the sand starts picking up? That's a sandstorm.
You know those days when a giant wall of dirt comes at the town like a scene from "The Mummy" or "Mad Max: Fury Road"? That's a haboob.
It doesn't matter what you used to call it; you were wrong. It's OK to be wrong. But it's not OK to stay in the wrong when presented with the facts. You are doing no more than choosing to stay stupid. Now, let's do science!
We already mentioned that sandstorms are caused by continuous wind. That's easy enough to understand. Haboobs, however, are caused by downburst winds that create a wall of dirt that precedes a storm cloud. Simple enough.
When you were a kid, your mom said that your private part was a 'winkie.' Later, you learned the scientific term was 'penis.' So now you're equipped with the knowledge that a wall of dirt preceding a storm is a haboob, not a sandstorm.
Let's wrap this up with a quote from Benjamin Franklin: "Being ignorant is not so much a shame, as being unwilling to learn."