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PHOENIX — Officials say a late afternoon dust storm that moved into the Phoenix region reduced visibility and caused a series of crashes that closed at least one highway.

Weather officials say some parts of the region area had visibility cut to less than one-eighth of a mile.

The Arizona Department of Public Safety says there were a handful of minor car accidents, and a short stretch of Highway 347 just south of Phoenix near Riggs Road was briefly closed.

James Sawtelle, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, says winds from thunderstorms Saturday in southern Pinal County kicked up dust as it moved northwest across the state.

He says cities on the edges of metropolitan Phoenix saw some of the worst visibility around 5 p.m., with winds moving about 35 miles an hour.

Sawtelle says the storm lingered over the Valley for a few hours.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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