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Deep in the Quivering Hearts of Texas

“Some Texans going nuts again,” noted the Houston Chronicle. At least, it says, “a certain type of Texan” who “seem to harbor a touch of xenophobia.” The Lubbock office of the National Weather Service dared to call the “massive dust clouds” by the name it usually uses for the phenomenon: a haboob. Yes, the term is Arabic in origin, but Texans are aghast. “In Texas, nimrod, this is called a sandstorm,” Brenda Daffern complained to the weather office. “We’ve had them for years! If you would like to move to the Middle East you can call this a haboob.” Katie Smith agreed, “It has been a sandstorm all of my life and only became a Haboob in the last 8 years!!” No, NWS meteorologist Dan Satterfield says, the term has been used in English since 1925, when a paper was published in the Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society to describe it. A haboob is a “quick moving wall of dirt,” while a dust storm is a longer lasting swirling bowl of dust. (RC/Houston Chronicle) ...And because they may not know this “foreign” word: “xenophobia” is a combination of the Greek “xenos” (strange or foreign) plus “phobos” (panicky fear).
Original Publication Date: 19 June 2016
This story is in True’s book collections, in Volume 22.

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