The July 5, 2011, haboob over Phoenix. Photo by Haboob Daniel Bryant.

The July 5, 2011, haboob over Phoenix. Photo by Haboob Daniel Bryant.

I know that I promised a brief vacay for the blog and me. But I couldn’t resist sharing an important anniversary.

No, it’s not legal in the least. But that’s the beauty of Change of Venue Friday, when we get to exercise multiple parts of our brains.

And on top of that, who’s reading blogs today anyway? Everybody’s by the pool eating grilled meats, aren’t they?  (Except for those of us at our work desks, licking our injustice wounds by reading blogs and watching Youtube videos).

Well, you can join in the workplace fun, as we recall the massive dust storm—a haboob—that engulfed Phoenix on July 5, 2011.

Yes, your flight's delayed. Haboob at Sky Harbor Airport.

Yes, your flight’s delayed. Haboob at Sky Harbor Airport.

First, here is a scientific explanation of why the 2001 dust storm was so large.

Searching around Youtube for haboob video is kind of fun (but be sure to include the “ha,” at least at work). It’s amazing how much video of the event was shot and shared around the world. Finally, our state was famous for something unrelated to policy choices!

Here is a great video piece posted by the photographer Mike Olbinski (you can see more of his work here).

It is his ground-based time-lapse video as the haboob sweeps into downtown Phoenix on July 5.

The second video is an aggregation of shots from around Phoenix.

Finally, to add some news value to this post, let’s turn to a compilation of 2011 haboob coverage—or, more accurately, a mashup of TV correspondents using the word “haboob”—sometimes gleefully, other times awkwardly.

For the last bit of haboob humor on this holiday-ish Friday, I offer my shot of a sign in front of Revolver Records in downtown Phoenix; the words appeared within hours of the dust cloud passing. There’s probably no news event that cannot be translated into eye-catching commerce through the use of three exclamation marks.

Haboob at Revolver Records 08-13-11 lo

That’s right. It was a haboob!!!

That’s it; I’m out. Have a great weekend!!!

It was on July 5, just about a month ago, that Arizona was the center of a swirling linguistic fight over—the weather.

A July haboob arrives in Phoenix (not via Southwest Airlines)

When what some have dramatically dubbed the “Great Arizona Dust Storm of 2011” struck, weather-folk immediately began calling it a “haboob.” They have been doing that for years, apparently (some say the term was introduced to the state by then-meteorologist Sean McLaughlin). But in any case, the term has been in use for quite a long time, all around the world. (Here is a pretty good description of the haboob, Arabic for “strong wind.”)

That seems to have been the problem for some listeners, who could not abide our home-grown “dust storm” being dubbed with some Arabic name. Plus, it made those people think of boobies.

(Speaking of overwrought, here is a little huffy coverage of the controversy by Salon.)

Was the media chagrined (a French word, I think) by the tumult over foreign usage? Could be. Last night, we had another dramatic hab–, I mean “dust storm,” and through the deluge of ridiculously overwrought news coverage, I don’t think I ever heard the “h” word.

Have the American-language-first folks won? Mon Dieu!

In any case, here’s a story about last night’s storm.

Here is some background on the ancient haboob, courtesy of Arizona Highways Magazine.

And for more cool images of the “H” in action, go to the Arizona Department of Transportation page. (Their title on the page is “Gallery of Dust Storms,” but they include haboobs.)

Here is a remarkable image of the haboob, by photographer Daniel Bryant (on the Arizona Highways page).

Finally, I share my own two funny memories of the haboob-amania.

First, in Phoenix we endured the reporters who were ordered to fill time and video about the storm, even after it had passed. One correspondent pointed to his dust-covered news van and solemnly indicated that the soil we saw came from the haboob (it looked exactly like most Phoenix cars any day of the week). Another anchor, as they rolled video of the storm sweeping through the Valley, said “We’ve sped up the video so you can see how quickly the storm moved.” (Wait for it—it’ll come to you.)

My second laugh came this week outside Revolver Records near downtown Phoenix. They have apparently come out on the affirmative side of the Arabic lexicon, for their sign out front proclaimed chirpily and simply, “Haboob!!!” (and haboob to you).

See, it is fun to say.

Have a great weekend.