Monday, February 27, 2012

High wind advisory in Arizona today

High winds, blowing dust could affect driving in Arizona today
Reduced visibility, possible dust storms could slow traffic

PHOENIX – The National Weather Service has issued a high wind advisory for today that could impact drivers traveling in all regions of the state.

A Pacific storm system will bring strong southwest winds to Arizona late this morning with increasing wind speeds in the afternoon. Gusty winds as high as 25-40 mph, including gusts up to 55-65 mph, are predicted in Northern Arizona. In southern Arizona, southwest winds from 25-35 mph, including wind gusts up to 45 mph, could impact drivers traveling on Interstate 10 and Interstate 8.

The Arizona Department of Transportation urges drivers to take extra precaution as strong winds over desert areas can result in sudden periods of limited or zero visibility due to blowing dust. Motorists play an important role in safety when operating their vehicles during a dust storm. ADOT and the Department of Public Safety recommend the following driving tips when encountering a low-visibility dust storm:

  • Check traffic immediately around your vehicle (front, back and to the side) and begin slowing down.
  • Look for a safe place to pull completely off the paved portion of the roadway.
  • Stop the vehicle in a position ensuring it is a safe distance from the main roadway and not near where any vehicles may travel.
  • Turn off all vehicle lights.
  • Set your emergency brake and take the foot off the brake.
  • Stay in the vehicle with your seatbelts buckled and wait for the storm to pass.
ADOT, along with DPS, will continue to work as a public safety team to support Arizona’s highways and drivers and will closely monitor conditions on the highways while maintaining driver safety.

Drivers planning trips tomorrow are urged to monitor travel conditions by calling 5-1-1 within Arizona, 1.888.411.ROAD outside the state, or at   ADOT Traffic Operations Center will post advisory messages on sign boards with the dust storm warning information.

Because weather conditions can quickly evolve, drivers are encouraged to regularly check in with ADOT’s Traveler Information Service.  Motorists should delay or detour travel plans if necessary.

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