“Near Apocalyptic” Dust Storm Shuts Down I-80 at Winnemucca

nevada 2013 pileupIf you’ve been to a few Burning Mans you’ve probably encountered a few dust storms. Some say that it’s getting worse, either due to Climate Change, weather modification, or the environmental impact of TTITD.

Whatever the cause, if things are getting worse then this recent killer storm should cause some concern to Burners – we could be in for a dusty summer. 1 person was killed and 36 were injured, 2 seriously, after the severe dust storm caused a 27-car pile up near Winnemucca – home of the Bureau of Land Management Field Office that is responsible for Burning Man’s permit. Interstate-80, which runs from San Francisco to Reno then all the way across the country, was shut down for more than 19 hours.

Blinded by dust as the storm tore across Interstate 80, vehicles began ploughing into each other at around 5pm on Monday, dramatically stretching limited emergency resources in sparsely populated Humboldt County.

Officials at Humboldt General Hospital said drivers reported “near apocalyptic” conditions during the pile-up, which shut down a major trucking route in both directions for over 19 hours.

Humboldt County sheriff’s dispatchers called in virtually every medical, law enforcement and fire worker in the area, with a mine rescue crew pitching in to help, and a charter bus company, Coach America, sending a vehicle to transport victims to hospital in an effort to lighten the load on limited ambulance services in nearby Winnemucca.

Chicago resident Ravi Dyer was killed when his lorry rear-ended another commercial vehicle in zero-visibility conditions, according to Nevada’s Highway Patrol. Two other lorries then ploughed into the 51-year-old from behind, seriously injuring his passenger.

Humboldt General Hospital spokeswoman Nicole Maher said 26 people were treated at the hospital, including three in critical condition who were later transferred to a hospital in much-larger Reno, about 160 miles away.

High winds whipped up dust — possibly loose from recently cleared fields — and created whiteout-like conditions, authorities said. Vehicles, including semitrailers, passenger cars and a tow truck piled up in both directions.


Reader Gene Garate provided these photos to the Reno Gazette Journal:

pileup nevada 2013

pileup3pileup 2pileup4

Are you prepared for the Big One?


photo by Peter Ruprecht

photo by Peter Ruprecht


2 comments on ““Near Apocalyptic” Dust Storm Shuts Down I-80 at Winnemucca

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