Blowing dust leads to accidents in the Lower Valley - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Blowing dust leads to accidents in the Lower Valley

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YAKIMA, Wash. -- Blowing dust shuts down roads and power lines are knocked over as a wind storm blows through the valley.

Through the cloud of dust on Harrah Road, a pile-up involving several cars, a semi-truck and school bus.

"When I arrived the conditions were real bad sometimes the wind would stop and it would be okay but when it was really blowing you couldn't see in front of you," said Brian Janz, tow truck driver.

Zero visibility lead to a rear end collusion, stalling traffic, then a semi-truck jack-knifed to avoid hitting a school bus full of children. Blowing dust from a dry field caused the Yakima Sheriff's Office to close down Harrah Road between McDonald and Fort Road.

"At this point avoid the rural roads especially anything around a lot of farmland because there's a lot of dust out there right now," said Sgt. Bill Splawn, Yakima Sheriff's Office.

No one was hurt in the accident on Harrah Road. But, the sustained winds of 35 to 45 miles per hour kept the dust blowing and deputies busy. By late this afternoon there were a dozen accidents reported.

"This doesn't happen all the time this is probably the worst in the couple years that I've seen it, especially down here in the Lower Valley," said Janz.

The Department of Transportation has closed down the freeway to semi's hauling mobile homes, they do that when winds reach sustained speeds of 22 miles per hour or more.