Dust storm rolls through Phoenix area; high temp hits 115 degrees

BrieAnna J. Frank
The Republic | azcentral.com
The first dust storm of the season passes through downtown Phoenix on Thursday afternoon, July 5, 2018.

The first major dust storm of the 2018 monsoon season rolled into the Valley late Thursday afternoon, briefly closing Interstate 10 south of Casa Grande in both directions.

The storm rolled into the Phoenix area a short time after the city reached an official high temperature of 115 degrees, making it the hottest day so far this year.

A dust-storm warning was issued initially for portions of the Phoenix metro area until 5:45 p.m., the National Weather Service said. Wind gusts were expected to be upward of 30 miles per hour.  

Numerous reports of blowing dust from the southeast Valley were posted on social media. A wall of dust first moved through San Tan Valley and then other parts of the southeast Valley and areas south of the Phoenix area in Pinal County. Before long, a wall of dust could be seen moving into the entire region from the southeast.

Heavy dust moved across central Phoenix area and many surrounding areas, but quickly dissipated.

More than 100 Salt River Project customers were left without power when the storm swept through the Superstition Springs area in Mesa. The outage stretched from 80th to 88th streets and University Drive to Pueblo Avenue, the Salt River Project said.

The power was expected to be back on by about 11 p.m.

I-10 was closed by 5:20 p.m. and reopened about 30 minutes later.

Visibility was low on Interstate 10 near Riggs Road, prompting Arizona Department of Public Safety troopers to close southbound traffic on State Route 347 just after 5 p.m,  the Arizona Department of Transportation said.

The road was reopened by 6:15 p.m., but a blowing dust advisory remained in effect in the area until 7 p.m.

Officials urged motorists in the area to drive with caution.

Thursday was the hottest day of the year in Phoenix so far, with the high temperatures hitting 115 degrees just before 5 p.m., the Weather Service said.

The scorching temperatures prompted officials to issue an excessive-heat warning that began at 10 a.m. for parts of south-central and southwest Arizona and will continue through Friday.

The record-high temperature for July 5 is 116 degrees and was set in 1983.

The overnight low temperature was forecast at 95 degrees. The warmest low temperature on record in Phoenix is 96 degrees, officials said.

Storms over Gila County on Thursday afternoon made their way toward the Valley.

Storms over Globe brought 0.3 inches of rain to the area and dropped temperatures from 104 degrees to 78 degrees in 34 minutes, the Weather Service said.

A chance for storms in the Phoenix area will increase by the weekend and will be strongest at the start of next week, National Weather Service meteorologist Travis Wilson said.

The moisture is expected to bring a drop in temperatures, with Monday expected to bring a high of 105 degrees.