ARIZONA, USA — A new study shows dust storms, while considered dangerous, are far deadlier than previously thought.
The study, published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, took a closer look at mortality and dust storm data.
Previously, only 10 deaths were reported due to dust storms from 2007 to 2017.
The new numbers, compiled from multiple sources, show 232 deaths due to dust storms over 10 years.
Arizona ranks near the top of the list of states for deaths.
"Dust will be with us just like COVID will be with us forever. It's going to happen anywhere," Daniel Tong, one of the study's authors, said.
Tong said he anticipates dust storms becoming more common across the country.
This week, a dust storm in Illinois caused a 75-car pileup in an area not generally known for dust storms.
The storms are common enough in Arizona that the Arizona Department of Transportation installed a dust storm warning system along Interstate 10 between Phoenix and Tucson.
The system was installed three years ago after a five-year string of 85 crashes. ADOT said the system appears to be working, showing drivers slowing down when activated and warning drivers of low visibility.
“We've had between 10 and 18 activations per year, with most of those occurring during the monsoon," Garin Groff with ADOT said.
Experts said climate change and ongoing drought likely make dust storms more frequent.
>>Editor's note: The story initially reported 2,322 dust storm-related deaths. This number was corrected to 232.
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