You Say Haboob, I Say it’s a Dust Storm

You have to understand something about television weather people here in the Phoenix area. They are very, very excited when there’s something to report other than sunshine.

And so it was that two weeks ago, when a massive dust storm rolled through the Valley, we were introduced to the word “haboob.” So pervasive and/or impressive was this word that we were the talk of the weather world for a day, even landing a photo in the front of Sports Illustrated showing a Little League game about to get hit by a wall of dust.

For those unfamiliar with our particular brand of weather, here’s the thing …

Throw out the fancy word and we’re getting our typical midsummer monsoon dust storms. Thunderstorms build up, as they roll into town they push winds ahead of them and – hard as this may be to believe – in the desert, dust will be lifted into the air.

This picture is from Loop 101 and Union Hills in Peoria as you look east. It was dusty, as my car currently can attest. And, as it turns out, much of the dust was coming from the acreage properties along the south side of Union Hills; once I got to 67th Avenue, it was a little bit clearer.

The point of all of this is this … while the use of haboob is really cool for both intended and unintended reasons, at the end of the day these are typical dust storms and not End-of-Days events. I can assure you that the Little League game in SI is not the only game to be interrupted by the monsoon; I played in a few myself decades ago.

By the way, let me give you one other fun tidbit about these storms … most places in the country, black skies and thunderstorms also mean a drop in temperature is coming. Not so much here in Phoenix. At the height of the dust storm last night, it still was well over 100 degrees.

Temperamental, teasing mistresses these haboobs dust storms and monsoons are.

Top photo credit: Titoxd courtesy Flickr Creative Commons

Jonathan Dalton

Jonathan Dalton is a 40-plus-year resident of the Valley and has been helping folks buy and sell homes since 2004. He can be reached at 602-502-9693 or info at