Monsoon activity could trigger thunderstorms that will generate blowing dust and low visibility today on highways in south central Arizona, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation.
The National Weather Service in Tucson has reported that a storm moving through the city has created blowing dust that has reduced visibility to less than a mile in some locations. Other parts of south and central Arizona, particularly areas along I-10 between Tucson and Phoenix, could also be affected by blowing dust throughout Thursday evening.
ADOT warns drivers that breezy conditions could produce dust channels, which are localized areas of blowing dust where visibility can drop to nearly zero. This kind of wind and dust can occur in dust prone areas between Phoenix and Tucson, including Interstate 10, Interstate 8 and State Route 347.
Drivers are advised to stay alert and look in all directions for blowing dust. ADOT urges drivers to avoid driving into a dust storm. Motorists play an important role in their own safety when driving during a dust storm. ADOT and the Arizona Department of Public Safety recommend the following driving tips when encountering a low-visibility dust storm:
• Avoid driving into or through a dust storm.
• If you encounter a dust storm, check traffic immediately around your vehicle (front, back and to the side) and begin slowing down.
• Do not wait until poor visibility makes it difficult to safely pull off the roadway — do it as soon as possible. Completely exit the highway if you can, away from where other vehicles may travel.
• Do not stop in a travel lane or in the emergency lane; look for a safe place to pull completely off the paved portion of the roadway.
• Turn off all vehicle lights, including your emergency flashers.
• 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.
Be aware that any storm can cause power outages to overhead roadway lighting and traffic signals. Drive with caution and treat all intersections without signals as having stop signs in all directions.
For more information and driving tips, please visit PullAsideStayAlive.org.
For the most current information about highway closures and restrictions statewide, visit ADOT’s Travel Information Site at az511.gov. or call 5-1-1.