Forecasters are predicting a combination of high winds and dry conditions for northeastern Arizona this week, posing a threat to drivers on Interstate 40 where similar conditions have prompted multiple closures due to near-zero visibility.
Drivers should again be prepared for closures, potentially starting Tuesday and extending into next week.
The National Weather Service issued a hazardous weather outlook for portions of north central and northeast Arizona, due to an unseasonably deep, low-pressure system moving into the region. Strong winds, sustained at 30 mph with gusts over 60 mph, are expected through Sunday.
Closures of Interstate 40 are possible from Flagstaff to Winslow.
In the past, similar conditions have been strong enough to cause high-profile vehicles to tumble. With the predicted storm this week, ADOT crews are closely monitoring conditions.
Winds began kicking up Tuesday and are expected to build, becoming stronger and potentially dangerous Friday through Monday. If required, closures are most likely over the weekend, and may last up to 12 hours.
“ADOT is a team focused on public safety. With insights into the expected weather this week, ADOT crews are already assembling in the field to determine how and when the highway may need to close, how to inform drivers, and how to balance safety with the needs of drivers,” said State Engineer Floyd Roehrich. “Closure of a major interstate like I-40 is never an easy decision because of the disruption to drivers and commerce. The interstate will remain open as long as it is safe to travel.”
Drivers planning trips along Interstate 40 are urged to monitor travel conditions by calling 5-1-1 within Arizona, (888) 411-ROAD outside the state, or via the Web at www.az511.gov.