Wind, dust, crash close I-10

Con­di­tions shut down route south of Phoenix

The Arizona Republic - - Valley & State - Robert Gun­dran

“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.

PATRICK BREEN/THE REPUB­LIC

Dust blows into Phoenix on Thurs­day af­ter­noon.

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