Texas television station KCBD kicked up a cloud of anti-Muslim bigotry Tuesday night by sharing an alert from the National Weather Service on its Facebook page. “Haboob northwest of Lubbock as seen from the Science Spectrum,” the NWS warned. “If you must drive west of Lubbock, plan for near-zero visibility in blowing dust and strong winds of 50+ mph.”
Although haboobs are more commonly known as “dust storms,” a NWS meteorologist said the Arabic word refers to a particular weather phenomenon. A haboob refers specifically to a wall of dust created by cool, dense air blowing away from a thunderstorm or along a cold front, said meteorologist Jerome James. But it signaled something even more threatening to some of the station’s Facebook fans.
“Never had a haboob until we got that muslim boob for potus,” said viewer Jeff Bertrand, referring to President Barack Obama, who is believed by some of this critics to secretly be a Muslim.
Meteorologists have used the word “haboob” since at least the 1950s, James said. He said dry conditions in Texas had made the phenomenon, with its distinctive brown skies, more common in recent years.
The English language uses many words with Arabic origins, including cotton, algebra, candy, lemon, alcohol, and sofa.
Update: See also Dean Obeidallah, “Texans attack ‘Muslim weather’”, Daily Beast, 17 March 2014