BLACKWELL — High winds in Kay County whipped up a dust storm which caused zero visibility and traffic chaos Thursday afternoon on Interstate 35.
The Oklahoma Highway Patrol reports that Thursday’s dust storm resulted in 12 crashes involving 27 cars on I-35 in an area between the Tonkawa exit at mile marker 214 and the Hubbard Road exit at mile marker 220.
Tonkawa Police Department called for help from the Ponca City Fire Department’s Emergency Medical Services at 1:44 p.m. as Kay County Sheriff’s Department deputies started dealing with the crashes in the midst of the dust storm. Ponca City provided two ambulances, Fire Chief Butch Herring said.
Kay County Emergency Management Director Dennis Bonewell said he recorded a 60-mile-per-hour wind gust in Newkirk at 2:30 p.m.
At 3:30 p.m., he said traffic was congested in Blackwell because of the diversion from Interstate 35.
Continue Reading: Dust Bowl 2012 Closes I-35 Thursday
TROOPER JASON ROSS of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol wears a bandana to filter heavy dust whipped by winds up 60 miles-per-hour as he works the scene of multiple accidents on Interstate 35 southwest of Blackwell on Thursday. (News Photo by Rolf Clements)
LOW VISIBILITY caused by massive dust storms triggered a dozen collisions involving 27 vehicles, forcing a six hour closure of Interstate 35 in Kay County, Okla. on Thursday. Ambulances from the cities of Blackwell, Tonkawa and Ponca City transported injured drivers and passengers to hospitals in Blackwell and Ponca City. A brief break in the dust storm allowed for this photo from Coleman Road overlooking accidents in both directions on Interstate 35. (News Photo by Rolf Clements)
THE REAR WHEELS of one car rest on the windshield of another in a three-car accident in the southbound lanes of Interstate 35, just one of a dozen accidents involving 27 vehicles which occurred when visibility was reduced to zero as massive dust storms swept through Kay County south of Blackwell on Thursday. Interstate 35 remained closed for six hours as the injured were treated, wrecks removed and dust storms continued to blind the area. (News Photo by Rolf Clements)