Arizona dust storms could make driving dangerous - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Valley And State

Arizona dust storms could make driving dangerous

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Posted: Thursday, November 3, 2011 8:29 am

Dust storms are on the horizon again in Arizona, and the Department of Public Safety and National Weather Service forecasters are warning drivers that Friday may bring hazardous conditions on southern highways.

A strong cold front moving through the state could cause high winds kicking up thick clouds of blinding dust.

"We're looking at sustained winds of 20 miles-an-hour with gusts up to possibly 40 miles-an-hour," said Raymond Mcleod, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Tucson.

Gusty winds along Interstate 10 in the Picacho Peak area and east of Tucson in the Willcox area are expected to last most of the day and through the Friday evening hours.

A dust storm northwest of Tucson on Oct. 4 led to a 30 vehicle pileup and the death of a Texas man. It took hours for the interstate to reopen as wrecked cars and semis littered the highway.

DPS said delaying travel Friday because of the weather might be a good idea.

"If you can avoid travel on Interstate 10 tomorrow (Friday) I would do that because there will be some hazardous driving," DPS spokesman Bart Graves told The Associated Press.

"What we're trying to do is get people to realize if they're going to be out on the road at that time to know what to do in the event of dust storms."

DPS advises that when a dust storm approaches, drivers should exit the interstate and wait for the storm to pass.

Drivers caught in the middle of a dust storm should turn their lights on and slow down. Stopping on the roadway could cause a chain reaction crash.

If drivers find it necessary to stop, they should pull completely off the roadway, turn their lights off, and take their foot off the brake.

© 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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