The Arizona Dept. of Public Safety and National Weather Service forecasters are warning drivers that a strong cold front moving through the state today may create dust storms that could bring hazardous conditions on Arizona highways.
“We’re looking at sustained winds of 20 miles-an-hour with gusts up to possibly 40 miles-an-hour,” Raymond Mcleod, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Tucson told the Arizona Republic.
A dust storm northwest of Tucson on Oct. 4 led to a 30-vehicle crash on Interstate 10 that left one dead and closed the interstate for hours.
Windy conditions are expected along Interstate 10 in the Picacho Peak area and east of Tucson in the Willcox area through the evening hours and are also likely along Interstate 8 between Casa Grande and Yuma, according to the Arizona Dept. of Transportation. The DPS suggests avoiding driving through the area if at all possible.
“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.”
When a dust storm approaches, DPS advises drivers 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, DPS suggests. If it’s necessary to stop, drivers should pull completely off the roadway, turn their lights off and take their foot off the brake; stopping on the highway could cause a chain reaction crash.