The word "haboob" comes from the Arabic word habb, meaning “wind.” A haboob is a wall of dust as a result of a microburst or downburst. The air forced downward is pushed forward by the front of a thunderstorm cell, dragging dust and debris with it, as it travels across the terrain.
Haboobs occur mostly during the summer months in Phoenix, but are not restricted to the monsoon period. These dust storms are much more serious than dust devils. The wind during a haboob is usually up to about 30 mph and dust can rise high into the air as it blows over the Valley. A haboob can last for up to three hours.
Phoenix experiences various degrees of dust storms, but the haboob is the largest and most dangerous. According to the National Weather Service, Phoenix experiences on average about 3 haboobs per year during the months of June through September.