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Another rare dust storm hits the southwest

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For the third time this month, an unusually early dust storm slammed the drought stricken desert southwest: this time in Arizona.

Strong downdrafts from thunderstorm activity spawned a large dust storm between Phoenix and Tucson on March 25, reducing visibility to zero and causing at least five accidents on Interstate 10.

Meteorologist James Quinones said,"We usually don't see this until the summer when you get those really big supercells".

Meteorologist Chris Dunn called it a convective-induced dust storm.

"What that means is a high-based rain shower that produces a strong downdraft of wind that kicks up lots of dust on the desert floor. We typically see this during the monsoon when convective-type showers are fairly common. But it's not the normal blowing dust we see in March,"according to Dunn.

High wind and blowing dust advisories were issued by the National Weather Service, and the Arizona Department of Transportation encouraged drivers not to travel between Tucson and Phoenix.

The above video is a bird’s eye view of the dust storm as it approached Phoenix. The footage was captured by a drone equipped with a GoPro camera.

On March 18, a strong cold front pushing southward across Colorado spawned two massive dust storms that stretched into New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. A week earlier on March 11, a gigantic dust storm barreled across five states.

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