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Wednesday, April 5, 2017


Haboob is not the name for the latest cleavage-baring fashion. It's a weather word for something that's actually pretty scary. A haboob is an extremely thick dust storm or sandstorm that blows through the deserts of North Africa, Arabia, the plains of India and Arizona. Yes, Arizona. So the next time you're stuck in small talk and can't figure out what to chat about except the weather, use one of these words assembled by to liven up the conversation.

1. Haboob

This is a violent and oppressive desert wind that brings with it a wall of sand that can be more than 60 miles wide. Haboobs approach with little or no warning and coat everything in dust.

2. Bombogenesis

When a low-pressure system moves off the East Coast during the winter months, it can rapidly intensify due to the combination of the warmer waters of the Gulf Stream and the positioning of the low between two very different air masses. The air mass to the north and west is very cold and dry, while the air mass to the south and east is very warm and moist. It is the storm's rapid intensification that is known as "bombogenesis."

3. Petrichor

When you go outside after the first rainstorm that falls following a long period of warm, dry weather, there is a distinct and pleasant scent. That is petrichor, which is the name of an oil that's released from the Earth into the air before rain begins to fall.

4. Darecho

AccuWeather defines a darecho as an inland hurricane. This is a fierce, typically short-lived type of storm that has ferocious, damaging winds and torrential rains. It can quickly move across a great distance.

5. Williwaw

You have to go the Strait of Magellan, Alaska or the Aleutian Islands to experience a williwaw, which is a sudden and quite violent squall that blows in near-polar latitudes.

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