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Thursday, November 3, 2011

Winter weather conditions arriving this weekend

Strong winds, significant snowfall possible 

PHOENIX — In northern Arizona, an unseasonably strong low pressure system and cold front will bring winter weather conditions this weekend, and could result in the first significant snowfall of the season, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).

With the NWS issuing a wind advisory for Friday (Nov. 4), motorists in southern Arizona could have their travel affected on two major interstates.

A cold front with strong sustained southwest winds from 25 to 35 mph, including wind gusts up to 50 mph, is expected to impact most of the state. Widespread blowing dust is expected along stretches of I-10 between Tucson and Phoenix, and from Phoenix to Quartzsite. In addition, dust is possible on I-8 between Casa Grande and Yuma.

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. Motorists play in important role in safety when operating their vehicles during a dust storm. ADOT and the Arizona Department of Public Safety recommend the following driving tips when encountering a dust storm.

▪ Check traffic immediately around your vehicle (front, back and to the side) and begin slowing down.
▪ Do not stop in the travel lane unless the vehicle traffic in front of you has come to a stop
▪ 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 and keep your seat belts on.

▪ Wait for the storm to pass over and away from the area before re-entering the roadway.

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 via the Web at www.az511.gov. 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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