Nature, weather

What’s a HABOOB?


Is it an allergy sneeze?   NO!

Haboob, Haboob, Ha-boobooboo Haboob

Is it the chorus from a pop musical hit?   NO!


Is it a new kind of fireworks?   NO!


This is a HABOOB that hit Las Cruces, NM, on Saturday, June 24, 2017. Photo courtesy of Las Cruces Sun-News.

A Haboob is a massive wall of dust, and if you are unfamiliar with the name, so was I. Then I learned the name comes from the Middle East where storms like this are  common and can affect visibility for days.

Last Saturday night was my first experience with a haboob.

The irony is that I had my car detailed about a month ago. It looked shiny and brand new  and a special finish protected its exterior. I had 3-hours of hand labor done despite knowing that soon the Ford Fusion would be rained on. Nonetheless, I felt it was worth the investment to protect it. Additionally, I had the leather interior polished to keep it from drying out in this dry desert air.

But last Saturday while dining at a friend’s house, I parked my car in the driveway. Within minutes of arrival, the haboob struck along with rain and did its number creating a polka dotted car.





It made me laugh, and I hope the futility of trying to keep on top of things amuses you, too.

Haboobs are just one part of the joys of desert living. There’s the sudden hail storms that cut up our roofs and pierce the skylights; there’s the summer monsoons that strike at night with their thunderous downpours that last only minutes. It all seems rather erratic, yet I wouldn’t have it any other way.


Norine Dresser is a folklorist who moved from Los Angeles to Las Cruces in 2012. She has adapted well to desert living.