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Massive dust storm descends on Phoenix area

Posted by Admin on July 8, 2011

Phoenix brushed itself off and returned to normal on Wednesday after a “historic dust storm” swept over the area, sending residents scrambling for cover, knocking out power and delaying flights.

Day turned into night as the billowy plumes of dust rolled over the mountains and clogged the skies over and around Phoenix in the late afternoon and into the evening on Tuesday, applying a good coat of dirt to the surroundings.

A wall of dust that towered over skyscrapers downtown swept across the desert from the south, and it appeared to be roughly 50 miles wide in some spots.

The storm was part of the Arizona monsoon season, which typically starts in mid-June and lasts through Sept. 30.

The National Weather Service says strong winds with gusts of more than 60 mph rapidly moved the dust cloud northwest through Phoenix and the cities of Avondale, Tempe and Scottsdale.

The storm downed trees, tossed yard furniture, and snuffed out visibility across an area of some 50 miles at its peak on Tuesday evening, although there were no reports of any fatalities.

Residents rushed inside as sand from the storm blasted the area in winds of up to 50 miles per hour. Near zero visibility forced drivers to stop on area roads until the worst of the storm passed.

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