National Weather Service/Facebook

This week the town of Lubbock, Texas, braced for the approach of a haboob: a monsoonal dust storm, the kind that can create a wall of dust as high as 5,000 feet above the ground, travel up to 60 miles per hour and be up to 100 miles wide. Haboobs pass through the southwest every year during the summer months, but this year some Texans took issue with the name of this particular kind of sand storm being derived from Arabic.

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The National Weather Service, doing its duty to inform the people of Lubbock that they were in for some trouble, posted this photo on Facebook about the approaching haboob:

National Weather Service/Facebook

This commenter on the post said she'd never heard the term before, suggesting that sinister forces must be at play:

National Weather Service/Facebook

There were two other comments in particular that kicked off the discussion, the Detroit Free Press reported, which have since been deleted from the post:

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John Fulbright: Haboob!?! I’m a Texan. Not a foreigner from Iraq or Afghanistan. They might have haboobs but around here in the Panhandle of TEXAS, we have Dust Storms. So would you mind stating it that way. I’ll find another weather service

Brenda Daffern: In Texas, nimrod, this is called a sandstorm. We’ve had them for years! If you would like to move to the Middle East you can call this a haboob. While you reside here, call it a sandstorm. We Texans will appreciate you.

This is how the American Meteorological Society explains how we came to use the word haboob:

The name comes from the Arabic word habb, meaning “wind.” The term “haboob” originated as a description for wind and sandstorms/duststorms in central and northern Sudan, especially around the Khartoum area, where the average number is about 24 per year, with the most frequent occurrences from May through September. However, the term is now commonly used to describe any wind-driven sandstorm or dust storm in arid or semiarid regions around the world, and haboobs have been observed in the Middle East/Arabian Peninsula, the Sahara Desert, central Australia, and the arid regions of southwest North America, from the Sonoran Desert of northwest Mexico and Arizona to the western portions of the Great Plains of the United States..

The vast majority of comments left on the post backed the National Weather Service. Some pointed out that if people have a problem with the word haboob because of its origin, they'd better get ready to relinquish a whole lot of other English words that were borrowed from Arabic, including the number system we use every day:

National Weather Service/Facebook
National Weather Service/Facebook

Other Texans were just embarrassed by the original posters' ignorance:

National Weather Service/Facebook

But maybe the best point came from those who were a little taken aback that even a weather event could become the focal point of Islamophobic attitudes:

National Weather Service/Facebook