A large dust storm over northern Oklahoma caused a multi-car pile up involving a few dozen cars. The natural incident shut down Oklahoma's Interstate 35 for several hours and injured about a dozen people.
When a reddish-brown dust storm swirled around Interstate 35 on Thursday, the dust created near blackout conditions which led to several accidents. The storm left drivers on the four-lane highway that connects Dallas and Oklahoma City to Kansas City, with visibility up to 10 feet, according to the Daily Mail.
Dozens of cars crashed into other cars while some stopped in the medians and on the shoulders to try to avoid an accident. More than a dozen people were injured and were taken to local hospitals to be treated. No one died in the incident.
The dust storm was caused by 55 mph winds that churned up soil from farmlands near Blackwell and drought conditions. The area went through a recent drought and farmers had just loosened the soil to prepare for the winter wheat season, according to the Daily Mail.
"I've never seen anything like this,' Jodi Palmer, a dispatcher with the Kay County Sheriff's Office said, according to the Daily Mail. "In this area alone, the dirt is blowing because we've been in a drought. I think from the drought everything's so dry and the wind is high."
"Also, the timing is bad because a lot of those farm fields are bare. The soil is so dry, it's like powder. Basically what you have is a whole bunch of topsoil waiting for the wind to blow it away. It's no different from the 1930s than it is now," Gary McManus, the Oklahoma associate state climatologist told NBC, referencing to the historic Dust Bowl.
Transportation officials were forced to close off the highway for eight miles between U.S. 60 and Oklahoma 11. The road was reopened on Thursday evening after the wind died down and crews were able to clean up debris from the crashes.
Although they died down significantly, winds continued to blow around 20 mph and calmed down by Friday.