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I-10 drivers warned of wind gusts, dust storms

Anyone driving north from Tucson on Interstate 10 on Thursday should be aware that high winds and blowing dust could affect their ability to see the road.

The National Weather Service has issued a blowing dust advisory, in effect until 7 p.m., for the Tucson metro area and southeast and south central Pinal County, including the Picacho Peak area. Winds of 25-35 mph are expected to pick up dust and lower visibility to less than one mile in some areas.

Drivers should be cautious if they encounter a dust storm, an Arizona Department of Transportation news release said.

If caught in a dust storm, ADOT advises drivers to:

  • Check traffic immediately around your vehicle (front, back and to the side) and begin slowing down.   
  • Look for a safe place to pull off the paved portion of the road.   
  • Stop the vehicle in a position ensuring it is a safe distance from the main road and not near traveling vehicles.   
  • Turn off all vehicle lights.   
  • Set the 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 can monitor conditions by calling 511 or by visiting www.az511.gov.

The Pima County Department of Environmental Quality has also issued an air quality watch due to "elevated levels of wind-generated particulate," spokeswoman Beth Gorman said. "The particulate monitors were going along just fine and then the 1 p.m. reading took a huge jump."

People with heart disease or respiratory difficulties are advised to stay inside and keep window and doors closed, Gorman said.

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A 2010 dust storm in Marana.