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Windy conditions, blowing dust challenge Arizona drivers

(AP File Photo)

PHOENIX — Air quality and driving conditions in Arizona took a hit Thursday, with gusts up to 40 mph blowing dust through the Phoenix area, two state agencies said.

Winds were expected to average 25 mph around the Valley but should pick up from time to time.

Areas in the northern part of the state will face worse, but drivers on Interstate 10 between Phoenix and Tucson saw a lot of dust. The brunt was expected from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m.

High, sustained winds of 45 mph could push around vehicles on Interstate 40 from Winslow, Arizona, to New Mexico.

Drivers should “keep in mind that conditions could change in an instant,” Garin Groff, a spokesman with the Arizona Department of Transportation said.

“It’s very important to get off the road as quickly as possible.”

Groff said, “Take your foot off the brake, turn your car off and make sure your headlights are off and wait it out.

“Usually it’s just a few minutes before the worst of the storm passes.”

Last year, blowing dust turned driving on I-10 in the eastern part of the state into a dangerous venture.

A stretch of road near the New Mexico border was shut down repeatedly in June. A Phoenix family died in a wreck that included 18 big rigs and seven cars.

KTAR News’ Jim Cross contributed to this report.

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