Blowing dust advisory for parts of Pinal County

The National Weather Service has issued a blowing dust advisory for parts of Pinal County.

CASA GRANDE – A blowing dust advisory and a red flag warning has been issued for parts of Pinal and Maricopa counties by the National Weather Service in Phoenix until 8 p.m.

A late season storm in the Pacific is producing strong winds, which is causing localized areas of blowing dust in parts of central Arizona, said Marvin Percha, a NWS meteorologist. The winds are averaging about 20 to 30 mph with gusts up to 40 mph.

The Arizona Department of Transportation is warning motorists about the strong winds, especially those traveling Interstate 10, where the wind could kick up large amounts of blowing dust that can cause visibility to drop to zero.

The department recommends that motorists avoid driving into or through a dust storm. Motorists who are entering a dust storm should check traffic around them, slow down and pull off the roadway as soon as it is safely possible. Once off the roadway motorists should turn off any vehicle lights, including emergency flashers, set their parking break and take their foot off their brake pedal. Motorists should stay in their vehicle, with their seatbelt on, until the storm passes.

The high winds have also caused the Weather Service to issue a red flag warning for the area, warning residents of dry conditions that increase the risk of a wildfire.

Residents can expect the wind to start to diminish overnight as temperatures drop into the low 50s. Thursday should be sunny with a high near 82 degrees with winds out of the south at 5 to 15 mph and gusts up to 20 mph.

Temperatures will start to climb into the 90s over the weekend with winds from the southwest at about 5 to 15 mph.

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Suzanne Adams-Ockrassa is a reporter covering the city of Casa Grande and the surrounding area, as well as Central Arizona College. She can be reached at sadams@pinalcentral.com.