Photo of dust storm from the University of Arizona campus at Sixth Street and Park Avenue looking south towards the Tucson International Airport. Photo by J.J. Brost

Submitted Photo

The Arizona Department of Transportation announced today that it's launching a contest to discover the most creative haiku about Arizona's dust storms. Dubbed the "haboob haiku" challenge, ADOT wants to combine Monsoon Safety Awareness Week information with a little bit of fun.

In case you don't already know, "haboob" is the Arabic word for strong wind. The word was used to describe the July 5th, 2011 dust storm that engulfed the Phoenix metro area, and has since been used for other major dust storms, including the May 9th dust storm in Tucson.

A haiku is traditionally a three-line form of poetry in which the first line consists of five syllables, the second line has seven and the third line ends with five. Here are several examples ADOT gives:

Dust cloud approaching:

The air becomes thick and brown.

Pull over and wait


Haboob engulfs you –

Vision obscured and hazy –

Exit the roadway.


Drive with care in dust

Pull aside and stay alive

Wait for dust to pass


Dust storms mean danger

Zero visibility

Pull over and wait

To enter the ADOT contest, post your haboob haiku on Twitter with the hashtag #HaboobHaiku. No word if there are any prizes available — but you can always brag to your friends and family about your literary prowess.