Blowing dust, wind force closure of Interstate 40

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HOLBROOK -- Strong winds and blowing dust have forced the closure of Interstate 40 east of Flagstaff.

The Arizona Department of Transportation shut down about 30 miles of the interstate between Two Guns and Winslow because of the near-zero visibility.

The department says drivers in the area can expect long delays. I-40 closures can last hours because of the nature of the dust storms.

In the past, similar conditions have been strong enough to cause high-profile vehicles to be blown over.

Highway officials also closed southbound Interstate 17 for a short time Saturday near Sunset Point because of a brush fire and heavy smoke burning next to the roadway.

A red-flag warning is in effect throughout the state through Sunday evening. That means high winds, dry conditions and low humidity, and that combination means an increased danger of wildfires.

ADOT said I-40 re-opened shortly before 7 p.m., but cautioned that further closures were possible, especially once the wind kicks up again on Sunday.

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