Haboob: How one weather word could cause so much controversy.

29 May 2016. A haboob blows across the city of Lubbock, Texas. Except for one thing: It’s suppose to be called a dust storm.

At least that is what some individuals in Lubbuck,Texas had to say about the use of this meteorological term, derived from an Arabic word describing a type of dust storm. This is a large, intense dust storm caused by weather fronts. It is very large and very dangerous. However, there was more concern over the fact that this was a foreign term, and more specifically, an Arabic word.

The outrage over this term being used by the National Weather Service does show a prejudice towards people who are of Arab ethnicity. That is obvious. However, there is something less obvious. It also shows ignorance in the realm of geography and meteorology. Without geography, we don’t have weather. And with weather, there are going to be terms derived from foreign languages to describe specific types of phenomenons.

This kind of outrage is why we need to have more emphasis on geography in schools, and why more people need to become more familiar with such weather terms.


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