17 Aug Dust storms hit metro Phoenix Sunday, close I-10 by Picacho…
Two walls of dust converged over metro Phoenix on Sunday hours after Phoenix broke yet another heat record with a high temperature of 115 degrees.
The action began approaching the Valley around 5:30 p.m., when the area along Interstate 10 south of Phoenix was slammed with blowing dust.
Thick, red-brown dust cloaked the air around Picacho Peak, causing low visibility on I-10. A semi truck was reportedly blown over on its side during the storm, according to the Arizona Department of Public Safety. Luckily, no one was injured, but I-10 westbound was closed due to the crash and the storm, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation.
Just before 6 p.m., the weather service issued a dust advisory warning of “a wall of dust” moving south at 40 mph across a large swath of the West and Northwest Valley as a storm approached north of Surprise. Blowing dust was also approaching the southern Phoenix area.
More than 300 people in Surprise lost power due to storm activity, according to APS.
Moments later, the weather service issued a dust storm warning for parts of Maricopa and Pinal counties, warning of wind over 50 mph and visibility as low as a quarter mile.
The dust blew in quickly. By 6:30 p.m., the Arizona Department of Transportation warned of blowing bust in Tempe along Loop 202. A strong thunderstorm approached Buckeye and White Tank Mountain Regional Park.
I-10 reopened near Picacho Peak around 7 p.m., but rain and dust continued to affect drivers on the freeway west of Phoenix.
At one point, visibility at Phoenix Sky harbor International Airport fell to nothing: It was exactly zero miles, the weather service said.
Lightning from the storms started several wildfires east of Interstate 17 and north of the Valley, but rain kept the fires small, according to the Bureau of Land Management Arizona Fire.
The storms left the Valley by 8 p.m., and weather warnings expired, according to the weather service. One dust storm moved west, affecting drivers on Interstate 9 between Gila Bend and Yuma.
Meanwhile, Phoenix also broke yet another heat record Sunday. With a high of 115, Sunday broke the previous record of 113 degrees set in 1992 by two degrees, according to the weather service.
Phoenix’s low temperature of 91 degrees on Sunday morning marked the 21st day this year with low temperatures of 90 degrees or warmer, weather service meteorologist Jaret Rogers said. The city’s previous record was set at 15 days in 2013.
High temperatures in Phoenix throughout the first half of the week were forecast to be near 115 degrees. An excessive heat warning was in effect Monday through Wednesday, and could possibly be extended into Thursday, according to Rogers.
Friday would cool down to just under 110 degrees, he said.
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