Thursday, July 28, 2011

PSA time: Haboobs

Much has been made of the rise of the use of the word "haboob" to describe certain recent dust storms in the Valley (see recent letters to the editor).

While some people are offended by the Arabic origin of the word and some others because the word reminds them of a female body part, I believe the word is here to stay.

If only because TV weather reporters can't say "big ass dust storm" on the air.  :)

As such, as a public service, I've taken it upon myself to lend a little insight into the various types of haboobs (and here you were, thinking there was just one :) ).

Like hurricanes and tornadoes, also weather phenomena marked by high winds, haboobs are differentiated by level.  While the force scales for tornadoes and hurricanes have numerals in them, the haboob scale is made up only of letters.

Level A - the haboob barely rises above surface level.  However, the appearance of even small haboobs have been known to distract drivers and cause fender benders, and they should be handled with the care and appreciation they deserve.

Level B - possibly the most common haboob, they rise more than 1 kilometer above the surface.  Most drivers are comfortable with them and handle them with ease.  Like the "A" haboobs however, they can be distractions have been known to cause accidents when spotted by drivers.

Level C - now we are getting into noteworthy territory.  Cs rise more than 2 km above the surface and have been known to cause medium-sized traffic snarls and marital discord because of drivers ogling them taking their eyes of the road.  Inexperienced drivers are usually the most vulnerable to these.

Level D - now entering "this could be dangerous to everyone" territory.  D-level haboobs rise more than 3 km above the surface.  Young drivers have been known to become slack-jawed and glassy-eyed when spying one or more D-level haboobs.  Even experienced drivers have, on occasion,  totally lost focus on their lives, often losing their homes and families because of them.  Appreciated by most, but most appreciated by divorce lawyers because they frequently lead to lucrative retainers.

Level DD - Rising more than 4 km above the surface, DD haboobs are much like Category 5 hurricanes and EF5 tornadoes.  Experienced drivers are the slack-jawed and glassy-eyed ones while young drivers simply go blind to all else around them.  When these make their presence known, lives are damaged to the extent that attempting to rebuild isn't advised.  Just call in the bulldozers/bankruptcy attorneys and start from scratch, because there won't be enough left to build a dog house, much less something to house a family.  On the other hand, these usually lead to being disowned by the family anyway.

Above DD - these have rarely been known to occur naturally.  Instead, in general, they are created by the artificial infusion of a saline or silicone factor.  While still rare, they are most often spotted in isolated areas in the Valley - near strip clubs, Charlie Sheen, famous athletes, infamous politicians and north Scottsdale.  Paradoxically, these do NOT cause the same traffic problems as the other haboobs - mostly because they are usually whirling around poles in clubs or are in the backs of limousines behind tinted glass.

...And so ends this non-political PSA, perhaps mildly crass and crude, and I hope, a little funny.  And even if one doesn't find it funny, I hope one appreciates that this is what one gets when people start whining about words like "haboob."

Keep whining about it, and I may just keep writing about it.  :)

1 comment:

Phoenix Justice said...

Thanks! I needed the laugh this morning!