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Dust Storm Turns Deadly in Texas

One person was killed, 17 injured when the storm triggered a series of accidents

Cars navigate along the Marsha Sharp Freeway during a dust storm in Lubbock, Texas, Wednesday. (AP Photo/Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, Zach Long)

LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) - A dust storm in West Texas triggered a series of accidents Wednesday that killed one person, injured at least 17 others and led authorities to close part of Interstate 27 north of Lubbock, a spokesman with the Texas Department of Public Safety said.

Cpl. John Gonzalez said 23 vehicles were involved in a series of chain-reaction crashes south of Abernathy as sand and dust from nearby fields were whipped by winds gusting up to 55 mph.

"It was like a white-out, only this would be black," Gonzalez said. "You couldn't see past the hood of your vehicle."

Gonzalez said the accidents occurred in the southbound lane of Interstate 27 early Wednesday afternoon. He said about a half-dozen crashes occurred in "domino fashion" as visibility in the area dropped to zero.

Gonzalez said a man died at the scene after the sport utility vehicle in which he was traveling slammed into the back of a tractor-trailer. Gonzalez said he was unable to provide other details about the fatality.

None of the other injuries appeared serious, Gonzalez said.

The accidents prompted authorities to close about a five-mile stretch of the highway in both directions between Abernathy and New Deal for about six hours.

Although the road was reopened, the DPS issued a news release "strongly discouraging any travel along the I-27 corridor between Lubbock and Amarillo due to extremely dangerous conditions."

Prolonged drought causes sand to blow off hot, dry dirt, and landowners in the area were being asked to plow their fields, making it more likely that the sand remains settled, Gonzalez said.

"The wind is just terrible, and that's something we hope will help," he said.

Eric Finley, a spokesman for University Medical Center in Lubbock, said 12 people involved in the accidents arrived at that hospital and were treated for what he described as moderate or minor injuries.

"There was nothing to indicate anything major," he said.

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jofother

Perry's head leaking again?

December 20 2012 at 8:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
calderasf

Well, I have no idea how this drought created dust storm can happen when Texas is a non-global warming state.

December 20 2012 at 8:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Norma

I've been in Texas a few times over the years and they can have it all I hated it and not just the dust storms either.

December 20 2012 at 7:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
JAMES

I hate the federal government, hate it, hate and then it'll be give us money please federal government for this. Happens every time.

December 20 2012 at 6:31 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
tsafa

Obama should ban storms instead of guns.

December 20 2012 at 6:03 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
raymofda

In response to ME. The sand at the surface blows but tilling the soil will bring up clods which will keep it from blowing. Not a fine tillage just rough and deep enough to bring up clods.

December 20 2012 at 5:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Me

Isn't there a glaring typo in this article, that changes the entire meaning of a sentence?

"Prolonged drought causes sand to blow off hot, dry dirt, and landowners in the area were being asked to plow their fields, making it more likely that the sand remains settled, Gonzalez said."

I would think the author meant to say "being asked to NOT plow their fields". This would keep the sand settled, not plowing. A little proof reading goes a long way, AOL. You guys are supposed to be professionals.

December 20 2012 at 5:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
rance516

Well Cindyde: You are missing the point by referring to typo 67 - 67. ....and Geebo you must be making a facetious remark. If not, I could mention God's wrath in the form of Hurricane Sandy where most are for Obamacare.

December 20 2012 at 4:19 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
geebo2b

Um God's Judgement on Texas For being anti-Obama care?

December 20 2012 at 2:54 PM Report abuse -5 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to geebo2b's comment
texasrealtorjules

Just like God's judgement on the east coast with storms and the shooting in CN for heartless liberals who support 0. All you minions will be so sorry for what you have done to this country.

December 20 2012 at 4:48 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
Ernie

Yea Joe, you have your head screwed on wrong. There have been REAL dust storms in Texas for years. I went through one while I was stationed at the army base in El Paso. I just pulled off the road and waited - it went away in about 2 hours. That was in 67 or 67. My wife just put some towels under the doorways and watched TV until I got home. As far as I know, no one was seriously injured - but people used their heads back then. Today would be... a disaster; people would believe it was their RIGHT to keep driving around texting and yapping while people died all around them. It happens all the time.

December 20 2012 at 1:48 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Ernie's comment
cindyde

well which year was it 67 ot 67?

December 20 2012 at 2:19 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
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