Wind, dust, crash close I-10
Conditions shut down route south of Phoenix
“If you encounter strong blowing dust, pull off the road and wait it out. If you can only see a couple feet in front of you, it’s very dangerous, especially if you’re on a highway and can’t come to a complete stop.” Mark O’Malley Meteorologist
Blowing dust and a crash shut down Interstate 10 in Casa Grande Thursday afternoon in both directions as high winds moved through the state, reducing visibility in widespread areas across the state.
The Arizona Department of Transportation said in a tweet sent just before 4 p.m. that an accident had shut the freeway, but later added in a statement that blowing dust was forcing closure of the highway in both directions in the same area. The crash was in the westbound lanes, ADOT said.
Around 3:30 p.m., ADOT also said SR 347 southbound was closed at Riggs Road and northbound at Casa Blanca Road because of blowing dust. The agency had previously tweeted an advisory for the road, a major connection between the Phoenix area and the city of Maricopa.
A blowing-dust advisory issued by the the National Weather Service was in effect for the Phoenix area until 8 p.m. Thursday.
The wind had reduced visibility in the Phoenix area by midafternoon. Highways in many parts of the state were under dust advisories.
“Today is not the day to be burning brush or doing any sort of outdoor fireworks or anything like that,” meteorologist Mark O’Malley said Thursday afternoon. “We just want people to be very careful. Even stuff like chains dragging or parking a car on dry grass. You could start a brush fire just because it’s so dry and windy.”
O’Malley said high-wind warnings would probably continue today.
The wind advisory was in effect because of 20 to 25 mph winds and 40 mph gusts.
“For a wind advisory, people should secure loose objects outside, like lawn furniture and garbage cans,” O’Malley said. “Things can start blowing around when the wind starts gusting.”
For motorists, the blowing-dust advisory was potentially the most concerning.
“If you encounter strong blowing dust, pull off the road and wait it out,” O’Malley said. “If you can only see a couple feet in front of you, it’s very dangerous, especially if you’re on a highway and can’t come to a complete stop.”
The National Weather Service in Phoenix said the dust and wind were expected to wind down Thursday night. Clear skies and warm weather were forecast for the weekend.
Dust blows into Phoenix on Thursday afternoon.