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End of civilization as we know it? Or a just a silly summer breeze?

I am not a weather forecaster, although for a very brief time in the early ‘80s, I played one on TV.

I have a good understanding of terms such as thunderstorm, record heat and flash flood and am up-to-speed on how frost delays and lightning warnings can affect outdoor activities.

I also remember when I first heard the term “haboob.” If memory serves me correctly, Sean McLaughlin, now an anchor at Phoenix’ CBS 5, first used the term publicly a few years ago to describe a massive dust storm encompassing much of Phoenix.

At the time, it was a funny word that seemed to fit.  Until there was a lot more exposure for it.  After further research, here’s what I found in the dictionary to describe “haboob:”


Wind-blowing desert sand: a violent sandstorm or dust storm that sweeps across the deserts of northern Africa and Arabia and the plains of South Asia

The Sonoran Desert and the southwestern United States are nowhere near Africa or Asia.  So – I propose to the universe a new word:  “azboob.”

It shall be defined as:


Wind-blowing desert sand: a violent sandstorm or dust storm that sweeps across the deserts of southern and central Arizona and causes the entire state to post crazy photos on Facebook and Twitter.

Messers. Webster and Merriam, I look forward to seeing “azboob” in the next edition.

Scott Hanson
Scott Hanson
President Scott is president of HMA Public Relations and a founding member of the Public Relations Global Network. He’s a Phoenix native, husband, father of two and a fan of all sports and a participant in some. Check out Scott's full bio


  1. Because anytime I can say haboob, I will!

  2. Stephanie Lough says:

    This is pretty interesting – http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/250848/haboob

    Britannica Encyclopedia defines a haboob primarily as Sahara weather feature, yet uses a picture of Phoenix. (Although there is a brief “sometimes in North America” added at the end.) Just goes to show that our Phoenix haboobs are the haboobiest.

  3. Do people actually get credit for inventing words?

  4. CE says:

    Of course you get credit and just think of the royalty checks!!! Keep thinkin’ ’em up!!!

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