Photos: Huge dust storm rolls through the Phoenix area


by 3TV

Posted on June 26, 2012 at 6:12 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jun 27 at 11:52 AM

PHOENIX -- A dust storm rolled through the Valley on Tuesday evening that was 60 miles wide and 2,000 feet high, according to the National Weather Service in Phoenix.

It was the first big storm of the Monsoon.

Winds were reported at 35 mph with visibility ranging from a half mile to 1 mile.

Behind all that dust, there were some powerful thunderstorms to the south and east of the Valley. As the storms moved to the north and the northwest they started to break down giving off some powerful wind gusts that picked up a lot of dust.

Weather radar showed light rain in the East Valley and Apache Junction, parts of Gilbert and Queen Creek.

There were 500 to 1,000 customers in the southeast valley without power, according to SRP, but it's not clear if all of those power outages are related to the storm. The utility company was hoping to have power restored by 10 p.m.

The National Weather Service had issued a Blowing Dust Advisory that had to be extended twice and lated until 9 p.m. Affected areas included Phoenix, Mesa, Buckeye, Chandler, Gilbert, Apache Junction, Queen Creek, Casa Grande, Arizona City, Florence, Eloy, Coolidge, Maricopa and Sacaton.

According to the Arizona Department of Transportation there were two vehicle accidents on Interstate 10 between Phoenix and Tucson during that dust storm. Poor visibility was reported along that stretch of the interstate.

People in Chandler were dissapointed that the storm didn't bring any rain.

"It's always good to see a little rain but guess it didn't happen this time," said one grocery store shopper.

"I'm hoping the rain will come because we really need it. It's so dry and dust is everywhere," said another shopper.

An Excessive Heat Watch remains in effect from Wednesday morning through Friday evening for the Phoenix metro area, Casa Grande, Parker and Wickenburg. The forecast shows temperatures could reach 111 to 113 degrees with the atmosphere drying out.

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