An Arabic name was used for the weather and people in Texas are absolutely furious

Picture: U.S. Department of Agriculture/ Flickr/ a Haboob in Ritzville, Washington, circa 2014
Picture: U.S. Department of Agriculture/ Flickr/ a Haboob in Ritzville, Washington, circa 2014

The weather towards the end of May and the start of June has been abysmal and forecasts predict even more rain in the UK.

But Texas has been suffering too, and on Monday the National Weather Service issued a warning for people in Lubbock:

A Haboob is rapidly approaching the Lubbock airport and may affect the city as well

Except, rather than expressions of thanks for warning them of a giant storm headed their way, some Texans became aggravated by one particular word: haboob.

The Washington Post picked up comments on Facebook, some of which appear to have since been deleted:

John Fullbright:

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.

Apparently, the word “haboob,” the name of a type of sandstorm which is especially prevalent in the Sahara desert (hence the Arabic etymology) is yet another example of foreigners encroaching on American soil.

Brenda Daffern:

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

Sharla Southerland Hamil:

In over 50 yrs of my life that had been a sand storm. We live in Texas which is in the US not the Middle East

Luckily, the vast majority of Texans are much better informed...

Tobra Avery:

I guess you should stop using the following words that we also took from the Arabic language: Alcohol Admiral Caliber
Sugar Zero

Okay, but what's a haboob really?

indy100 spoke to Public Engagement Programme Manager Chloe Moore from the Royal Meteorological Society:

A haboob is the name for a dust or sandstorm in the northern part of the Sudan, most commonly observed between May and September in the afternoon and evening.

The name is derived from the Arabian word ‘habb’ meaning ‘to blow’.

Although the word originates from Arabic to describe the sandstorms in northern Sudan, the term is now commonly used to describe any wind-driven sandstorm or dust-storm in arid or semi-arid regions around the world.

Basically, yes the term is Arabic, but then tsunami is Japanese and Aeolian (action of the wind) is Greek, but we still use those all over the world, don't we?

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