Fox News Weather Center

Strong winds to disrupt travel throughout the southwestern US later this week

Winds will increase in eastern California, Nevada and Arizona as a storm takes shape over the Rockies at the end of the week.

After a brief break from the windy early week weather, residents of the Desert Southwest can expect a calm and pleasant Wednesday.

However, a storm diving south out of the Pacific Northwest will lead to increased winds across the region.

“Frequent gusts from 40-50 mph are likely Thursday in an area extending from the Sierra Nevada to far western New Mexico,” said AccuWeather Meteorologist Max Vido.

static SW Thu wind

Due to the arid climate of this part of the country, dust storms are a threat whenever strong winds blow.

“Those traveling on interstates 15, 40 and 10 should be especially cautious when traveling Thursday and remain aware of the unfolding weather situation,” said Vido.

“Blowing dust can rapidly reduce visibility, which will lead to treacherous vehicle travel on local roads and interstates,” said Vido.

If possible, drivers should avoid resulting dust storms all together.

If one is encountered on the road, drivers should pull as far off the highway as possible before turning off all car lights and waiting for the dust to clear.

Strong crosswinds will also threaten to topple high-profile vehicles along these interstates.

In addition to roadway hazards, travel will also be impacted at area airports.

Las Vegas and Phoenix are two major hubs that can anticipate significant flight delays on Thursday and Friday.

Wind gusts up to 50 mph have the potential to bring down trees and power lines, “leading to widespread power outages,” Vido explained.

“As the system moves east Friday, winds will remain breezy across southern Nevada, Southern California and Arizona, but the strongest gusts will shift towards New Mexico,” said Vido.

These winds are expected to shift to being out of the north on Friday, ushering in cooler air before calming.