MARICOPA COUNTY, Ariz. (KPHO/KTVK) — A monsoon storm hit the Valley hard Thursday evening, bringing high winds, low visibility and a massive wall of rolling dust coming from the south.
“It is a huge one,” said our reporter in the chopper, Jerry Ferguson. “This is a classic Arizona dust storm barreling across the southeast Valley.”
Right around rush hour, we watched as the huge wall of dust made its way, stretching from the Estrella Mountains and into Queen Creek and beyond.
National Weather Service meteorologists said blowing dust in the Phoenix area brought near-zero visibility for drivers.
“This is one where we can’t really see through it. It’s pretty thick,” said Ferguson.
By 6:30 p.m., the wall of dust was headed directly toward the ASU Tempe campus and toward the airport. We saw planes attempting to land, and it must have been a scary sight for pilots as they tried to navigate the dust.
Officials at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport said flights were delayed or held until visibility improved.
“He’s in the dust now. Oh, boy!” said Ferguson as a plane made its way through the thick soup of the dust cloud. “There goes that plane into the wall of dust. We’ll say that pilot has a lot of courage.”
Here’s an amazing photo sent to us by a viewer whose plane was landing at Sky Harbor Airport just as the dust was rolling in.
A severe thunderstorm warning was issued for areas including Maricopa and the Ak-Chin Indian Community south of Phoenix.