Making Arizona a Dust Storm Ready State by Building Partnerships across an Enterprise of Different Stakeholders to Mitigate Windblown Dust Issues

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Tuesday, 6 January 2015: 9:15 AM
221A-C (Phoenix Convention Center - West and North Buildings)
Glenn Lader, NOAA/NWS, Tucson, AZ; and K. R. Waters

Windblown dust and dust storms have existed in Arizona for centuries, given the dry climate, natural desert and abundance of arid soils that are found. Blowing dust has been found to have many impacts on the population and society ranging from health and valley fever, to air quality and particulate matter levels, and transportation including automobile accidents which have led to many fatalities. As population across Arizona has increased dramatically since the 1950's along with modern forms of transportation and highways, there has been an increase in detectable dust related impacts across the state. Based on statistics from 1955 through 2008, Blowing Dust is ranked as the 3rd deadliest weather phenomenon in Arizona after flooding and extreme heat and cold. Recognizing the increasing problem of blowing dust in Arizona and the wide variety of stakeholders it impacts, the National Weather Service offices in Phoenix and Tucson joined up with the Arizona Department of Transportation to create annual multi agency and disciplinary dust storm workshops starting in 2012. These workshops have brought together a wide range of partners that have an interest in blowing dust and dust mitigation from the public, private and academic sectors. Most importantly, the workshops have provided a focal point in bringing everyone together to meet and brainstorm how to mitigate the blowing dust issue and work together on projects.

After three years of dust workshops and increased public interest, the efforts of about 25 agencies interacting on the dust issue have been paying off. This is seen with a better educated public through educational campaigns, increased efforts in notifying the public of dust storms in advance, new dust detection tools and the potential for new dust mitigation techniques.

This presentation will highlight the efforts of the NWS and our partnering agencies to mitigate the impacts of blowing dust.

Supplementary URL: http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/psr/dust/