Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Haboob II: Return of the dust

Someone let the haboob out of the bag. Kitchen tables and living rooms from Frisco to Philadelphia are buzzing about not one but two of these dastardly dust storms that have risen over metropolitan Phoenix, Arizona, like some kind of impending alien invasion.

 

The latest storm swept in early Monday evening, layering dust on top of a a city that was already reeling from the much stronger version of the haboob less than two weeks earlier. iReporters in Phoenix looked skyward and told us these storms have taken them by surprise -- even the longtime residents.

 

 

Andrew Pielage has lived in Arizona for most of his life, but had never heard the word "haboob" until this month. Even still, he thinks he might have figured out the secret of the storm.

 

"Just wash your car and within 24 hours another haboob will hit," he joked.

 

Pielage ran up to the eighth floor of his apartment building and shot photos of the haboob blocking out the horizon behind the Westward Ho, a former hotel that is a major landmark in downtown Phoenix.

 

 

Richard Carrillo Jr. shot a close-up video of the storm blowing fiercely, tossing debris and dirt into the air.

 

"The storm from yesterday seemed to have carried more rain compared to the one from last week," he said. "There was a lot more dust and mud left in the streets and sidewalks compared to the last storm."

 

 

Erik Velez sat on an overpass in the northern part of town around 5 p.m. to watch the wall of dust come through.

 

"We had three waves of it come through last night. It wasn't as bad as the one from two weeks ago but it was pretty wild," he said.

 

 

And it was deja vu all over again for Mike Olbinski, who was out time-lapsing a dust storm for the second time. He says there was "almost zero visibility," creating hazardous conditions for drivers. He filmed for about a half hour and shot 600 images to make the video.

 

"The dust storm lasted probably 20 to 30 minutes, but usually it's bad when it hits you first and then starts dying out quickly."

 

Have you seen a haboob? Share your photos and videos with CNN iReport. We'd love to hear your experience.

48 Comments
July 19, 2011
Click to view ElDono's profile

Welcome to "The Valley of the Sun".  Well, sometimes.  I can't imagine living in a hell hole like that just to avoid the cold winters up north.

July 19, 2011
Click to view junkmail008's profile

I can't wait for the trilogy to come out.  How about — Haboob III: Rise of the Dust.

 

If course we should think about some prequels too to milk as much money out of this sucker as possible.  I'm thinking "Haboob: Origins"

 

And to milk even more out of this catastrophe, we cast Charlie Sheen and Ashton Kutcher together as a kind of awkward Starsky and Hutch.  Of course a cameo from Bruce Willis will make that paring gold.

 

This may be far fetched, but something tells me this isn't exactly too high brow for Hollywood. 

July 19, 2011
Click to view Haboob's profile

I have been living in the Valley of the Sun since I was born in '67. These dust storms that have now adopted the "Haboob" name, have been happening for quite some time and I have to believe they were happening long before that. The name "Haboob" was labeled to these dust storms about 5 to 7 years now. This isn't new to most natives. The "Haboob" we experienced two weeks ago was undoubtedly the largest and darkest I have ever seen in the 40+ years that I can remember. The reason this is happening is due to the lack of adaquate rain since October of last year. So we have alot of powdery sand/dirt that is very easily picked up by the outflow winds of thunderstorms, which creates these massive dust storms. My suggestion is, if you don't like the heat, humidity, and all this dust, don't move to the Valley of the Sun.

July 19, 2011
Click to view Arizonababy1's profile

Psh, if you were to live in the area, the word haboob is a joke. It's just a dust storm, they've been happening for years! It's monsoon season, and this isn't really uncommon. It just makes you mad when you washed your car last week and then a huge dust storm with rain comes through. >.< The pictures my family and I took were amazing though! Everything was just rippling and moving, it was terrifying driving towards it! What sucks though is you have to turn off your ACs if you filter in air from outside. The dance studio I dance at was 90 degrees, and completely humid! We couldn't turn it back on until this stupid "haboob" passed through. Oh well! Us Arizonans enjoy these weather quirks. It's a lot better than 120 with no cloud cover in sight!

July 19, 2011
Click to view YankeeThundr's profile

This is AMERICA and it has NEVER been called a haboob here. Speak English and stop catering to muslims. It is a DUST STORM!!!!!!!!!

July 20, 2011
Click to view KenAZ's profile

Typical Arizona monsoon. Nothing new for those of us who have lived here for a few decades. Although, admittedly, they haven't been as frequent in recent years. Used to be during monsoon season we'd have one every day, followed by rain. We could use the rain.

July 20, 2011
Click to view Tuffyterf's profile

Ah, you got to love Phoenix, oppressively hot, some of the worst traffic in the U.S. and full of abandoned foreclosures..

 

The dust storm got its name by a bunch of Californian's, who when they heard all these people were moving to the middle of the desert.. They said "Hah......Boobs"

July 20, 2011
Click to view mellowme's profile

Haboob's a great word and beats "dust storm" any day. Quit being such a xenophobe.

July 20, 2011
Click to view KawiNinja's profile

Haboob isn't just a duststorm, it's meaning is connected to how it's created. It's a sudden downdraft of wind from  a forming storm.

 

Sorry AZ natives (I am one too), but this term has been around for a while. The first one I actually paid attention to was back in 2005. It wasn't as  thick as this past one, but I remember EVERYTHING looked like an old 1900's sepia colored movie. Nothing really had color, it was all an orange/brown tinge.

July 20, 2011
Click to view Petercha01's profile

Sand storm was the word that we used forever and a day.  There was no reason at all to change it to haboob.  But anyway, I hope everyone in Arizona stays safe during this storm.  Stay off the roads if you don't have to drive, and if you do need to drive, be extra careful.  My prayers for you all.

July 20, 2011
Click to view ColbyAZ's profile

Can we please rename this type of storm?  Haboob?  I understand it's origins, but seriously, we need a less ridiculous word.

July 20, 2011
Click to view skiharry's profile

I never put my hand on haboob, only habutt!!!!

July 20, 2011
Click to view PermntGuest's profile

I was recruited to the Valley in 1998.  I heard the name 'haboob' once back then, and never again...just "a monsoon is coming with some dust".  I don't really mind if the name catches on, and I've got to admit that it is certainly is unique.  But for what it's worth, no one I know ever uses the phrase.

 

By the way, I'm from rainy Vancouver, and have slight asthma, yet breathing the air in the dust storm (huh, alright, haboob) is just like breathing when you're in fog.  I sort of laugh when people say denigrating things about living here...oooo K.  No problem.  You stay away and I'll enjoy shoveling sunshine and wearing t-shirts all year, and put up with the quite enjoyable and natural show of weather every now and then!

July 20, 2011
Click to view ShelbIN's profile

Haboob is a meteorological term. It does not need to be used in quotes, its not some hypothetical or made up term. It has been around for a long time. It was not originally used in America, but it is starting to become more relevant in the US therefore it will be used more. As mentioned before this goes with how the storm originates. This term isn't simply "catching on". And really it doesn't matter if you say Sand Storm or Haboob, people understand what is going on. Haboob is just a more "scientific term". 

July 20, 2011
Click to view TeaClown's profile

The AZ folks who say this is normal must not get out of their single-wides often. I lived in AZ for over 20 years and two Haboobs this close together IS NOT NORMAL. But, hey, tea people are always in denial.

July 20, 2011
Click to view Catalyzr's profile

I live in the Phoenix area and I refuse to use that ridiculous word.

July 20, 2011
Click to view minador's profile

Shelb, I was about to post something similar.  It's the text book name for this phenomenon taken from Arabic because the largest of these storms probably occur in North African and the Middle East.  They were probably first studied there and the make was picked up by scientists.  We, the general public, have called them dust storms and dusters long before Haboob.  Some meteorologists have probably used the term here long ago, but it's only now being picked up in the Arizona vernacular.  I will continue to call them dusters, as we have many small scale dust storms that need to be distinguished from Haboobs.  I doubt the use is related to our wars in the Middle East - just that the scientific name is being picked up.

 

I'm sure these storms have many local names, including a variety of names within the Arab world itself - it's just that this was picked up as the scientific name, so scientists can communicate more clearly.  For example, like when scientists discuss alluvial fans and bajadas.  It allows for fast, clear communication.

July 20, 2011
Click to view minador's profile

Catalyzr, we don't have to use that word - we can continue to use what we have been using :)

July 20, 2011
Click to view jrstinkfish's profile

Origin of the word "monsoon":

 

"The English monsoon came from Portuguese monção, ultimately from Arabic mawsim (موسم "season"), perhaps partly via early modern Dutch monsun. The Arabic-origin word mausam (मौसम, موسم) is also the word for "weather" in Hindi, Urdu, and several other North Indian languages."

 

Sorry, no matter if you call it haboob or monsoon, you're still using a variation of an Arabic word. Some people are silly. Why not just call it a Freedom Storm?

July 20, 2011
Click to view minador's profile

Some people may have heartburn (xenophobia) about the word, but I think the main point is that, while these have been massive storms, they have been happening here for a long time.

 

So while "Kitchen tables and living rooms from Frisco to Philadelphia are buzzing" about these "new" Haboobs, and "long time" residents have never known of Haboobs, they aren't new.  And just because you've lived here 20 or 40 years without seeing one, that doesn't mean they're new.  There is nothing wrong with calling them Haboobs since it's the correct term.  Most of the people are just saying that they're not new, but use of the name by reporters and the general public is new, and it's creating a false impression that they are new.  It has nothing to do about single-wides or "tea people" or any other insults you have.  I share the sentiment of our Canadian buddy, stay away if you like, but we're quite happy to live here and enjoy our ~356 day/year t-shirt weather, a handful of short-lived Haboobs and all.

July 20, 2011
Click to view kana60's profile

"Andrew Pielage has lived in Arizona for most of his life, but had never heard the word "haboob" until this month. Even still, he thinks he might have figured out the secret of the storm."

 

The reason Andrew probably hasn't heard the word haboob to describe a dust\sand storm is because it's an arabic term. and until recent was probably not used in the US to describe such an event.

July 20, 2011

Why is CNN pandering to some foreign language?  It is a "dust storm". Use American English words.

July 20, 2011
Click to view svann's profile

Wormsign has been sighted east of Phoenix.  The Baron has been heard to be ranting about some "terrorist desert dwellers".

July 20, 2011
Click to view bfireport's profile

The reason these haboobs have been so remarkable is due to the ongoing severe drought combined with a large percentage of fallow cotton and alfalfa fields in the Casa Grande area south of Phoenix. The monsoon storms come out of the south and east and would not pick up nearly so much dust if not for the miles and miles of exposed powdery soils in this nuisance agricultural zone.

July 20, 2011
Click to view conoclast's profile

Phoenix should change its name to a more-appropriate: "Carrier", AZ., after the inventor of air conditioning; he single-handedly has made it possible to survive in hell.  

July 20, 2011
Click to view Kindhrtd's profile

I have lived in 20 years and worked outside for about 10 of them- all around the area south of phoenix- my family has been in az for four generations- we have never heard of a "Haboob" - its a dust storm. If you are a true AZ native you would know that- just some reporters trying to be descriptive.

July 20, 2011
Click to view LouAz's profile

Phoenix is the Valley ON the Sun. There are lots of great haboobs here in Phoenix.

July 20, 2011
Click to view azfc204's profile

The worst dust storm i ever encountered was in 2001 at Tempe diablo stadium. At first everyone thought it was going to be a little dusting not a big disruption but then you could see the wall come in from south mountain. People started running for their cars with umbrellas, anything they could grab and run with. When it hit day turned to darkness. One suggestion if your out driving in the dust storm don't have your brights on it reduces visibility not only for everyone else but also for you.

July 20, 2011
Click to view defl8ed's profile

I've lived in Phoenix for about 20 years now, and for all those claiming that you have to be insane to live here, think about it this way - Yes, for 3 months out of the year it is very very hot.  For another 2 months out of the year it's just really really warm.  For the remaining 7 months out of the year it's perfect.  In return for that we never have to deal with snow, rarely have to deal with rain, never have to worry about natural disasters like earthquakes, tidal waves, hurricanes, volcanoes, tornadoes, etc.  There's been one time I can recall in the last few decades that there was sufficient rain to cause flooding and I don't think it caused any significant damage.  I just watched Roy Halladay look like he was about to die while pitching in Wrigley Field in Chicago this past week - so there's a great example of a big city where you're screwed whether it's winter or summer - it's cold enough to kill you in the winter and apparently hot enough to kill you during the summer, but if I were to come out and say "people would have to be insane to want to live in Chicago" people would say that's ludicrous.  We've had two dust storms in 2 weeks, big deal.  I still say it's a great place to live.

July 20, 2011
Click to view su82er0's profile

ElDono, your comment doesn't make any sense. Are you calling Phoenix a hell hole based on these dust storms? These dust storms occur so rarely (like maybe once every 2 or three years) and they last for about 30 minutes. You're also making it sound like people only move here to avoid the cold winters. That's not true at all. People move here for many reasons. And besides, I'd rather have sunny and 70 than snow and 10!

July 20, 2011
Click to view phoenix4444's profile

ElDono,

 

Have you ever been to Phoenix or do you live in a hell hole like New York which is full of foreigners and crowded 24 hours a day or any of the other Midwest states where the humidity can make the worst hair straight and unmanageable?  Matter-of-fact, when thinking of your vacation ideas, keep your backwards butt right where you are.  Arizona is more that dust storms which are awesome, by the way.

July 20, 2011
Click to view NPhxAz's profile

Yeah, we have a good time joking around about haboobs around here.  We see them every summer-  it's always hot and dirty when they roll out but, we take it all in stride. This last one on Monday was actually somewhat typical.  The one the week before last was the mother of all haboobs though.  Everybody was amazed and awestruck.    I see some of our locals are uptight about the terminology surrounding these dust storms. I guess I first heard the term about five or six years back but have lived here since 78.  I say just relax and embrace haboobs for the pure fun of it.  Life is too long to sweat the small stuff.     

July 20, 2011
Click to view NPhxAz's profile

BTW TeaClown: We don't miss you a bit.  You blow more hot air than any haboob we'll ever see. You and ElDono can pound your own sandstorm's worth.  Right?- RIGHT!

July 20, 2011
Click to view ADB8917's profile

'Haboob' (sometimes called Hubbub or Hubb from Arabic) is a Sudanese word for a kind of dust storm peculiar to that part of the world.  Other comparable terms are 'Harmattan' from West Africa, and 'Simoom' from the Eastern Mediterranean.  All occur regularly in the regions I mentioned, but they are dangerous nonetheless.

People all over the world have their own names for distinct types of weather (i.e., Chinooks, Williwaws, Foehns, Nor'easters).  Haboob isn't a 'wrong' word, but it is out of place as a term for localized phenomena.  Areas in the Western US that are subject to these kinds of storms call them for what they are: sandstorms, duststorms, dusters, or black blizzards. And, of course, tornado is a Spanish word.

What bears watching is whether the Arizona storms are occuring more frequently; increasing in intensity; covering larger areas; or all of the above.  The Dustbowl storms of the 1930s were likely such creatures, and these may be precursors of regional and/or continental climate change.

July 20, 2011
Click to view roguecmdr's profile

Come on CNN, get real. Long time residents have seen these haboos mant times. I am 27 and lived here all my life. The onlything special right now is we havent had a storms bringing them into the valley the last couple years. Its been atleast 5 year or so to my knowledge. Find something else to make a big deal about but dont take quotes from people like that. I remember these storms back to when i was in sixth grade and we had a severe monsoon roll in with 123+mph recorded winds

July 20, 2011
Click to view ShatteredArm's profile

Nothing new here.  While they're not always as big as the one two months ago, I remember these things periodically happening a few times every monsoon, usually towards the beginning of the season before the ground is sufficiently moist.

 

And for those calling Phoenix a "hell hole:" I was in New York last week, and 88 there is just as uncomfortable as 100 in Phoenix (or 110 in June, before the humidity creeps up).  What the Midwest is experiencing right now is worse than any sweltering heat Phoenix ever has to endure.

July 20, 2011
Click to view TrickyRick23's profile

Sorry Tea Clown, you have no idea what you're talking about. It is common to have several of these sandstorms this close together. When I lived in Phoenix in '99 there was a period where there were 3 in the space of 5 days. My grandfather who lived his whole life there told me about one summer where there was one almost every day, took the farms years to recover. It's just part of living in a desert and not getting enough rain, which happens, oh every other year or so.

July 20, 2011
Click to view charper1's profile

@ElDono

 

"Welcome to "The Valley of the Sun".  Well, sometimes.  I can't imagine living in a hell hole like that just to avoid the cold winters up north."

 

 

Uhhh; well then you are nuts.  "Hell hole", you really have ZERO idea what you are talking about.  Period!

 

July 21, 2011
Click to view Splinter10's profile

Well, I lived in Phoenix for a year and a half and saw a few dust storms move through.  I really wonder why this is even making headlines.  Sure, the one a few weeks ago was certainly newsworthy as one that large is, indeed, rare.  This one...sorry, not newsworthy as these tend to hit Phoenix a few times a year, especially when it's dry.

July 21, 2011
Click to view billyslap's profile

seriously we in arizona call them dust storms, only recently have these uptight loosers have been calling them haboobs. And despite ignorant press these are normal things here in arizona, they act like its some strange thing when its a normal yearly thing here.

July 21, 2011
Click to view billyslap's profile

Ive lived here since I was born here, Im an actual arizonian, these are normal things we get. Some are bigger than others, sometimes they happen at night and you dont see em, sometimes in the middle of the day, and only recently have I even heard them called "haboobs", regardless of what technical term or what other countries call them, are we conformists like everyone else?, we actually have always called them what they are, dust storms.

July 21, 2011
Click to view douglas5937's profile

I hope the radiation dispersion from Japan has nothing to do with the increased intensity of these dust storms. The name haboob sounds foreign to me, almost science fiction like. I wouldn't use the term in conversation. Doug.

July 21, 2011
Click to view havanas's profile

Other foreign ('ferin') words that need to go:

 

'monsoon', 'typhoon', 'tsunami', 'hurricane', 'tornado', 'mistral', 'foehn', 'chinook', and 'avalanche' (among others, I'm sure).  And while we are at it, let's do something 'bout the state's name ('Arizona' is Native American in origin).  I propose 'New California' (oh, wait that's ferin toowell, we'll work on it). Oh, and the elephant in the room'Phoenix' (a Greek word describing an ARABIAN bird that arises from the ashes!Sounds kinda gay.) I propose 'Roast Turkey'a REAL AMERICAN bird!

July 21, 2011
Click to view Kushie's profile

These dust storms are breeding grounds for valley fever.

July 21, 2011
Click to view jackola's profile

It is ironic that the Islamic name "Haboob" is now associated with none other than  Arizona.

July 21, 2011
Click to view Julnor's profile

Arizona has a nice pair of haboobs.

July 21, 2011
Click to view tripoddog's profile

I live in Northern Ontario, Canada and we are under a huge heat wave right now with extreme temps and humdity in the 95% range.  I've been to Arizona...I've been on a horse in the desert in jeans and longs sleeves in 100+ degree weather and never even broke a sweat...the next day I was hiking in the red rocks of Sedona where the temperatures and scenery were blissful.  To the north I could see snow on a mountain in Scottsdale.  If you ask me, Arizona is just about perfect and has it all!  Bad traffic in Phoenix...maybe, but I also lived in Toronto for many years so we had the heat, humdity, traffic and no red rocks!

July 21, 2011
Click to view SoozenD's profile

I was raised in the "Valley of the Sun" - born in 1949 - half way between Phoenix and Tuscon. The DUST STORMS were and are a fact of life for desert residents.  The true Zoners know this. Sparkly clean pool without a cover? Dust storm turns them into huge brown messes. The dust storms can and have stripped paint off cars, back in the day. Still do lots of damage.  Haboob? Doubt many of those born and raised in Arizona will EVER use that name for what we know is a common happening in monsoon season.

You must be logged in to post a comment.



About the iReport Blog

The latest and greatest on CNN iReport, brought to you by Team iReport.


Categories Recent posts Monthly Subscribe