Dust storm blows through Antelope Valley, prompts highway closures; up to 70 mph wind gusts forecast

Local news

A dust storm blew through northern Los Angeles County as winds kicked up on Monday, creating dangerous driving conditions and prompting officials to close highways in the area.

Dust was blowing across much of the Antelope Valley in the morning hours, according to the National Weather Service.

With visibility poor due the dusty conditions, California Highway Patrol officials temporarily blocked off both directions of the 14 Freeway from Avenue I to Avenue A. The lanes have since been reopened.

A section of Route 138 in the Lancaster area was temporarily shut down between 110th Street West and 170th Street West, according to Caltrans. By 7:30 p.m. all lanes were reopened.

As the weather service explained, “Visibility can quickly drop below one-mile creating dangerous driving conditions. Slow down and use headlights.”

In addition to the Antelope Valley, dust was also visible to the east of the region, in the Victorville area, around 9:45 a.m., and image shared by the weather service showed. Dust has also since been detected along a large swath of Central California.

Forecasters expect the windy conditions to last through Monday night, with gusts predicted to be strongest — up to 70 mph — in the mountains and the Antelope Valley.

By 5 p.m., four places in the Palmdale and Lancaster areas had reported winds gusts of at least 50 mph and up to 60 mph, according to NWS.

Humidity is also expected to plunge into near single digits, and together, the dry and windy conditions will create potentially critical fire weather conditions, the weather service said.

The elevated wildfire danger prompted Southern California Edison to warn of potential power shutoffs for thousands of customers, an action that would be taken to mitigate risk.

In addition to potential power outages, the wind could also fell trees and branches, the weather service reported.

Weak Santa Ana winds and drier conditions will linger through Tuesday, along with cooler temperatures, according to the forecast.

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