PHOENIX -- High winds and blowing dust are impacting Northern Arizona Wednesday and could prompt the closure of Interstate 40 east of Flagstaff.
The National Weather Service is predicting strong gusting winds as high as 50 mph. Arizona Department of Transportation officials said drivers should expect long delays and be aware of the lack of appropriate detour routes.
The I-40 westbound closure is expected to be set at milepost 252 in Winslow where the traffic will be diverted into the city. The eastbound closure, east of Flagstaff, would begin at milepost 219 at the Twin Arrows interchange, where traffic will be turned around.
State Route 99 at the Leupp interchange with I-40 will be closed, as well.
Closures of I-40 can last hours due to the nature of the storms, according to ADOT. In the past, similar conditions have been strong enough to cause high-profile vehicles to be blown over. Blowing dust has reduced visibility to near zero. With the threat of a storm, ADOT crews will be closely monitoring conditions.
Drivers planning trips along I-40 this week are urged to monitor travel conditions by calling 5-1-1 within Arizona, 1-888-411-ROAD outside the state, or via the Web at www.az511.gov. Because weather conditions can quickly evolve, drivers are encouraged to regularly check in with ADOT's Traveler Information Service. Motorists should delay or detour travel plans if necessary.