Arizona is home to summer dust storms that can turn a sunny, cloudless day as black as night. This year, the Arizona Department of Transportation has decided to fight back by raising awareness of the dangers of driving through one of these storms.
By raising awareness, they are encouraging residents to tweet haikus about the dust storms, known as haboobs, in order to warn others about safe driving practices, according to Yahoo News.
Department spokesman Timothy Tait stated:
“The challenge … is really designed to raise awareness that this is a problem and that drivers shouldn’t expect to sail through a dust storm. They need to think about it when they see that dust forming on the horizon.”
Haikus are Japanese poems consisting of 17 syllables. Newser reports that one submission from Mindy Lee, a Phoenix resident, reads:
“Haboobs blow through town / In one instant it is dark / Pull over and wait.”
Yahoo News reports that others range from, “I don’t yet know you – Curious but fearful, haboob – I will break for you’ to the slapstick – ‘world turns brown with dust / can’t see red taillights ahead / until–oh crap! Oops.’
Tait reports that they have had more than 100 submissions so far, but that his favorite is, “You’re not a Jedi / This is not Tatooine, Luke / Pull over now, man.”
The Department urges drivers who are caught in haboobs to slow down and pull off the road safely as soon as they can. These storms are frequently found during the rainy season, also known as the monsoon season in the southwest United States. Last July, the Phoenix valley experienced a historic storm that measured more than 40 miles across, according to Yahoo News.
While there is no cash prize for the best haiku, writers can seek a fleeting claim to internet fame if the Department retweets the haiku..