High winds, blowing dust could affect driving across Arizona Tuesday - Ahwatukee Foothills News: News

High winds, blowing dust could affect driving across Arizona Tuesday

Reduced visibility, possible dust storms could slow traffic

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Posted: Monday, March 5, 2012 5:08 pm

The National Weather Service has issued a high wind advisory for Tuesday that could impact drivers traveling in southern regions of the state.

A storm system will bring strong winds to Arizona on Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service. Winds between 30-35 mph with stronger gusts up to 60 mph are expected across much of the desert southwest. Travel along highways, including interstates 10 and 8, could be affected by dusty conditions.

Strong winds in excess of 25 mph, with gusts above 40 mph, also are forecast across northern Arizona.

The Arizona Department of Transportation urges drivers to take extra precaution as strong winds can result in sudden periods of limited or zero visibility due to blowing dust, especially in desert areas. Motorists play an important role in safety when operating their vehicles during a dust storm. ADOT and the Arizona Department of Public Safety recommend the following driving tips when encountering a low-visibility dust storm:

▪ Check traffic immediately around your vehicle (front, back and to the side) and begin slowing down.

▪ Look for a safe place to pull completely off the paved portion of the roadway.

▪ Stop the vehicle in a position ensuring it is a safe distance from the main roadway and not near where any vehicles may travel.

▪ Turn off all vehicle lights.

▪ Set your emergency brake and take your foot off the brake.

▪ Stay in the vehicle with your seatbelts buckled and wait for the storm to pass.

▪ Drivers of high-profile vehicles should be especially aware of changing weather conditions and travel at reduced speeds.

ADOT, along with DPS and the National Weather Service, will continue to work as a public safety team to support Arizona’s highways and drivers and will closely monitor conditions on the highways while maintaining driver safety.

Drivers planning trips are urged to monitor travel conditions by calling 5-1-1 within Arizona, 1-888-411-ROAD outside the state, or at www.az511.gov. The ADOT Traffic Operations Center will post advisory messages on sign boards with dust storm warning information.

Because weather conditions can quickly evolve, drivers are encouraged to regularly check in with ADOT’s Traveler Information Service. Motorists should delay travel plans if possible.

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