Severe Dust Storm Causes Massive Car Pile-Up, 18 Hospitalized

According to the Sandoval County Sheriff’s Office, a dust storm that occurred on the afternoon of June 19th along Interstate 25 between Algodones and San Felipe Pueblo caused many accidents, and at least 18 individuals were sent to the hospital.

Officials have said that the storm caused circumstances in which visibility was completely absent. In addition to deputies from  Santa Fe and Sandoval counties, the New Mexico State Police were immediately summoned to the location of the incident.

Dust storms that are severe, which are also referred to as haboobs, are violent windstorms that may swiftly limit visibility to near zero by lifting massive volumes of dust and debris into the air. Although they are most prevalent in arid and semi-arid environments, such as the American Southwest, they are capable of flourishing in any location that has dry, loose soil and high winds.

It is caused by the outflow winds of thunderstorms or by heavy pressure gradients resulting in the formation of a towering wall of dust that may be miles long and several thousand feet high.

The State’s Department of Transportation reported that Interstate 25 was stopped in both directions for a period of several hours, beginning at mile marker 248 in Algodones and continuing all the way to mile marker 254. There was an early reopening of the southbound side, and by around 5:45 p.m., both sides had been reopened.

According to Sandoval County Lieutenant Marin Carrillo, the largest collision was a dozen-and-a-half-vehicle pileup near Algodones at about 3:30 p.m. He said that at around that time, additional collisions took place nearby.

According to Carrillo, no deaths were reported. Individuals taken to the hospital had what seemed to be fractured bones, while others had reported experiencing chest pains.

Photographs and videos taken by commuters in the wake of the collisions were uploaded to social media, displaying the wreckage of automobiles that were scattered around the route.

According to the National Weather Service (NWS) in Albuquerque, thunderstorms with hail were reported to have occurred throughout a large portion of Central and Eastern New Mexico on that afternoon.

Haboobs quickly make driving conditions dangerous and unpredictable. Although they do not persist long, the gusts may reach 60 mph, and the plumes of dust can be so thick that vision is totally blocked.

As thunderstorms are more prevalent in the early monsoon season, they are also more prevalent in agricultural regions and along dry lake bottoms.