Wind advisory issued Friday and Saturday; ADOT warns of dust storms

2013-11-14T17:30:00Z 2013-11-14T20:49:51Z Wind advisory issued Friday and Saturday; ADOT warns of dust stormsCarmen Duarte Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
November 14, 2013 5:30 pm  • 

The National Weather Service has issued a high wind advisory for much of the state Friday and Saturday.

On Friday, the advisory will be in place from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the Tucson area, including the I-10 corridor between Tucson and Phoenix.

The winds are expected to be stronger in the Casa Grande and Picacho Peak area than they were when a dust storm struck there Oct. 29, causing a chain-reaction crash on Interstate 10 that killed three motorists, said Glenn Lader, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service based in Tucson.

The winds are part of a storm system across the Pacific Northwest that is moving across the Great Basin into Arizona, Lader said.

"If folks need to drive up to Phoenix, the best time to drive is early in the morning Friday. Be on the road before 9 a.m.," advised Lader.

"The winds are expected to pick up to 30 mph around 11 a.m. and in the afternoon some gusts could reach between 40 to 50 mph," he said.

The weather service warns visibility could be reduced to less than half-a-mile today in the afternoon and evening from Tucson westward, including along I-10.

Motorists on I-8 between Casa Grande and Yuma, and I-40 from Flagstaff to Holbrook, could encounter blowing dust on both days, said Lader.

Motorists should be prepared to encounter reduced visibility along long stretches of roadways in the state, said Arizona Department of Transportation officials.

On Saturday, the I-10 corridor between Tucson and Phoenix is expected to receive 10 mph winds in the morning and 20 mph winds by the afternoon, Lader said.

Cochise County also will receive gusts of up to 35 mph on Saturday, causing dust to kick up. 

Department of Public Safety officials recommend that motorists caught in dust storms slow down, exit the highway at the nearest off-ramp and get as far away from the road as possible.

Motorists should turn off their vehicles' lights and remain in the vehicle with seat belts fastened.

For the most current information about highway closures and restrictions statewide, go to ADOT's travel information site at az511.gov or call 511.

Contact reporter Carmen Duarte at cduarte@azstarnet.com or 573-4104.

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