Power mostly restored after massive dust stormPosted: Updated:
UPDATE: Friday evening:
Power mostly restored except in far outlying areas of the West Valley.
UPDATE: Friday morning:
VALLEYWIDE -- APS said it has nearly 50 power poles down in the Buckeye area. At the height of Thursday's storm, some 3,500 customers were without power. By Friday, that number was down to about 1,600.
While APS is working to repair those downed line, the utility is anticipating that several hundred of its customers could be without electricity until about 8 p.m.
Tartesso Elementary School was closed Friday due to the power outages.
PHOENIX -- A massive dust storm bowled over the Valley Thursday evening, bringing the evening commute to a halt as visibility was reduced to zero in many areas and high winds caused damage that turned the power off to thousands of customers.
The cloud of dust looked to be devouring local land marks as it stretched across the city and swept over downtown Phoenix, the Glendale arena and Sky Harbor Airport.
Wind gusts up to 56mph were recorded in the Valley, with most areas seeing winds in the 40mph range.
One of the the worst hit areas was the Buckeye area, where APS reports 30 power poles were blown over between Woods road and Cotton center.
3,500 customers lost power, with repairs expected to take well past Thursday night.
SRP reported up to 6,500 customers lost power at the height of the storm. Power was restored to more than 4,000 customers shortly afterwards.
RECORDED WIND GUSTS:
Luke Air Force Base 56 mph
Chase Field 51
South Mountain 51
Sky Harbor 51
Deer Valley 46
East Phoenix 42
The Department of Public Safety issued a warning to drivers as the storm rolled through:
DPS recommends motorists seeing a dust storm approaching exit the freeway/highway at the first available off ramp.
If you find yourself in a dust storm with limited visibility, slow down and use the lines on the roadway to guide you.
If you find you're in a dust storm without visibility, pull completely off the freeway/highway into the dirt. Turn your lights off, take your foot off the brake, due not use your emergency flashers. Wait for the storm to pass.
If your lights are on while you are pulled over during a dust storm, you stand a good chance of being struck by motorists trying to follow you thinking you're still moving along the roadway.
Always stay in your vehicle with your safety belt fastened. Never exit until the dust storm has passed.