Oklahoma dust storm causes injury wrecks, highway closures
Dust storms caused wrecks with injuries on Interstate 35 in Kay County on Thursday afternoon. The interstate was closed for nearly six hours while the storm abated and crashed vehicles were cleared from the road.
Videoview all videos
Oct 18Parts of Interstate 35 in Kay County have been shut down...
Photoview all 7 photos
NewsOK Related Articles
The Oklahoma Mesonet weather network station at Blackwell, including Thursday, has gone 34 consecutive days with less than a quarter of an inch of rain on any one day.
“Unfortunately, that rain just hasn't arrived up there. They've missed out on the last few rain events, and the drought continues to intensify. The wheat is having a tough time emerging due to the drought and so there is little vegetation to hold the dust down. Just like during the dust storms of the 1930s, the topsoil sits waiting for a strong wind and takes flight once that wind arrives.”
“This is just as bad as a tornado as far as flying debris; you know you can be injured by flying debris just like you can during a tornado with the winds being this high,” Ponca City emergency manager Paula Cain said.
A red flag fire warning was in place for parts of northern Oklahoma on Thursday, as was a blowing dust advisory.
The National Weather Service forecast for the area said winds would subside to 20 mph or lower overnight but that gusts as high as 28 mph could continue.
Calm winds were expected by Friday night.
Steve Austin, a Kay County commissioner, said visibility was terrible.
“It looked like a huge fog was over the city of Ponca City,” he said. “We've had dust storms before, but I don't remember anything of this magnitude in years.”
News Photo Galleriesview all
- 14589OKC Thunder: Thunder trio praise fans before potential departures
- 8609Oklahoma State football: Todd Monken thinks Wes Lunt should've stayed in Stillwater
- 6402Student shot dead during botched home invasion
- 6393Oklahoma medical examiner reports cause of deaths in Grand Lake boat crash
- 6018Soaring gasoline prices hurt Oklahoma City area retailers
- 5816Oklahoma football: Sooners get pair of commitments
- 4098As Boy Scouts' vote on gay members nears, faith groups weigh in