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Several Injured, One Critically, in West Texas Dust Storm Collisions

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In what’s been labeled a zero-visibility dust storm, authorities in West Texas have identified that eight people were injured, one critically, in a 10-vehicle pileup near Rankin, on Highway 349. Taking place on the afternoon of Sunday, July 16, the Texas Department of Public Safety says the accident occurred as a result of dirt blowing across the highway from recently plowed fields. Wind gusts that day were reported at approximately 40 miles per hour by the National Weather Service.

Several Injured, One Critically, in West Texas Dust Storm Collisions

Photo: Facebook/The Donald Weather Station

Dan Brown, Upton County Sheriff, has identified that with reduced visibility, each driver was unable to see what was ahead, and subsequently, “everybody hit everybody.” A Midland Memorial Hospital spokeswoman noted that the critically injured victim is in hospital care while seven others were treated and released.

Several Injured, One Critically, in West Texas Dust Storm Collisions

Photo: Facebook/News Radio 99.3 & 1490 KBUR

Texas Department of Public Safety Sargent Oscar Villarreal identified that the victims were from two separate collisions, and the highway reopened early on Monday, July 17. Common in dry or semi-dry regions, dust storms have been known to hit parts of West Texas abruptly, catching drivers unaware and reducing visibility to extremely dangerous conditions. If you’re driving in such a situation, the best safety tips include immediately reducing your speed, driving carefully off to the side of the road or highway, and turning off your lights, ensuring that no other vehicles follow and hit you. Sit out the storm and when the dust settles, safely re-enter the roadway.

References:

Raycom Group

NBC DFW