Wednesday, May 23, 2012

ADOT issues strong wind warnings for today

PHOENIX — The Arizona Department of Transportation is warning drivers that strong winds on Wednesday (May 23) could impact travel in the northeast and southwest regions of the state.

National Weather Service offices in Tucson and Flagstaff have issued separate wind advisories from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. tomorrow. Strong sustained southwest winds from 20 to 35 mph, including gusts up to 55 mph are predicted, according to the National Weather Service.

ADOT urges motorists to use extra caution due to possible difficult driving conditions as strong winds over desert areas can result in sudden periods of limited or zero visibility due to blowing dust.

Areas to pay particular attention to include Interstate 10 between Casa Grande and Tucson, and Benson and the New Mexico state line, as well as Interstate 40 near Winslow.

Motorists play in 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.

Avoid driving into or through a dust storm  
      ●     Do not wait until poor visibility makes it difficult to safely pull off the roadway; completely exit the highway if possible
      ●     If you encounter a dust storm, check traffic immediately around your vehicle (front, back and to the side) and begin slowing down
      ●     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
      ●     Stop the vehicle in a position ensuring it is a safe distance from the main roadway and not close to where other vehicles may travel
      ●      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

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

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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