Local News

Wednesday, Apr 30 2014 01:06 PM

Morning dust storm in Kern delays traffic

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    By Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

    Trees at the Kern County Raceway near Enos Lane and I-5 disappear from sight as dirt clouds blow through the area Wednesday morning.

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    By Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

    High winds kick up dirt along Panama Lane and throughout the area Wednesday morning causing motorist to slow down as visibility decreased substantially.

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    By Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

    A woman struggles as she walks into the wind on Panama Lane in Bakersfield Wednesday morning. High winds caused dust clouds to blow through the area, at times making visibility dangerously low.

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    By Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

    A cloud of dirt blows into the area of Taft Highway near Enos Lane Wednesday morning.

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    By Ruth Brown/ The Californian

    Cars lined Stockdale Highway about three miles west of Allen Road Wednesday morning as their drivers waited for a dust storm to stop and improved visibility. One driver said she waited for more than an hour for the dust to settle.

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    By Ruth Brown/ The Californian

    A car can barely be seen in the distance along Stockdale Highway about three miles west of Allen Road Wednesday morning. Drivers waited for a dust storm to stop and improve visibility. One driver said she waited for more than an hour for the dust to settle.

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  7. 7 of 9

    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    Dirt from an open field blows across Wible Road Wednesday morning in front of this vehicle.

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    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    A group of walkers hold onto their hats while walking along Panama Lane near South H Street Wednesday morning in Bakersfield in a windy part of town.

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  9. 9 of 9

    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    A group of walkers hold onto their hats on Panama Lane and South H Street Wednesday morning during a wind storm in the area that kicked up dirt and dust.

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BY RUTH BROWN Californian staff writer rbrown@bakersfield.com

Karen Briltz was terrified Wednesday morning about trying to drive through a dust storm that left her little to no visibility along Stockdale Highway.

So she sat in her car about three miles west of Allen Road. Waiting. For an hour.

Briltz, 48, had pulled over because she couldn’t see the road. Neither could many other drivers, who also idled on the side of the highway.

“I’ve never been more scared in my life,” she said. “I keep thinking (the dust is) going to stop but it doesn’t.”

Drivers on Interstate 5 from Stockdale Highway to Bear Mountain Boulevard and other parts of Kern County also had low visibility during the late morning dust storm that reached gusts of up to 35 mph in the Bakersfield area.

Poor visibility was reported throughout the San Joaquin Valley from blowing dust.

Such dust storms are uncommon this time of year, said David Spector, forecaster for the San Joaquin Valley National Weather Service.

“A lot of it has to do with the lack of precipitation,” Spector said.

Thursday also will bring strong winds, but not as severe as Wednesday’s.

Neither Bakersfield police nor California Highway Patrol reported any accidents from the dust storm.

But Briltz, who was traveling from Templeton to Bakersfield, said she couldn’t believe some people kept driving during the storm.

“People are driving like crazy out here. I thought (a) truck was going to hit me,” she said. “I called 911 trying to get a highway patrolman out here.”

 

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