Dust Creates 'Brown Out' On Roadways

The Flood of 2011 dramatically altered the landscape along the Missouri River, especially in areas where water stood for months.

It created smoother, flatter fields.

This past weekend, travelers in western Iowa saw quite a dust-up.

The hazard could continue for some time.

For 27 years, truck driver Brad Rausch has navigated Nebraska from one end to the other.

He's well versed in dealing with high wind.

"Mainly the cross wind especially when it gets slippery and icy," he said.

We normally associate high wind with blowing snow and reduced visibility this time of year.

But now we're seeing a slight variation.

"You get in these wide spaces and you get a wind and its just like white out conditions at times," Rausch said.

This past weekend, with wind gusts hitting 50 miles an hour, dust and soil from once flooded farm fields enveloped roadways.

Dave Pearson is a hydrologist with the National Weather Service.

He says the residue from flooding may be a concern for drivers along the Missouri River basin.

"We'll blow around sediment and sand and all that sand that the flooding brought in some places feet of sand into some fields will blow around until the ground gets a really hard freeze," he said.

Usually, farm fields have some stubble and rises that can block small particles flying around in high winds.

Flood covered fields changed the topography slightly, but that could have a big effect.

"It definitely doesn't help to have a smooth surface as opposed to a rough surface in a field," Pearson said.

And those smooth fields could make for a rough ride for travelers.


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