GRINNELL, Kan. — Extreme wind turned Kansas and Missouri interstates and highways into dangerous terrain Wednesday.
The Kansas Department of Transportation said that the wind knocked down or sheared off hundreds of traffic signs across the state. Other signs may have simply blown away.
Crews are working to replace or repair the signs, but it may take time because many of the signs have to be ordered.
The majority of the missing and damaged signs are in the western part of the state.
At one point Wednesday afternoon, a 434-mile stretch of Interstate 70 was closed from Salina, Kansas to the Colorado border because of multiple crashes caused by blowing dust and low visibility.
One family knows exactly what it was like to be on I-70 Wednesday, and the video they shot will show you just how bad the conditions were in western Kansas.
Claudia Woods said she and her family were driving from Wyoming to Oklahoma. She said that around 2 p.m. a trooper stopped them near Grinnell, Kansas to warn them about the danger.
“We were so fortunate the Kansas Highway Patrol was there to tell us to slow down prior to entering the wall of dirt. We are very grateful for them and their efforts to help guide us through a very strange and unexpected event,” Woods told FOX4.
She shared a view of the dust storm seen in the above video player. Woods said that while inside the dust storm, visibility was down to about 10 feet. At one point, they pulled over to the side of the road.
“Dust began to collect and layer on the dash and interior of the vehicle, making it apparent dirt was truly surrounding us. We decided to take a chance and try to follow a vehicle through the carnage due to having a two-year old in the back. We were fortunate enough to make it through and find our way to our destination. We didn’t want to be sitting ducks,” Woods said.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, shared a satellite loop image on Twitter of just how large the dust storm was as it blew through Kansas. Dust is represented as yellow in the satellite to it is easier to see.
The Kansas Highway Patrol said the agency worked 20 crashes that involved injuries and two deadly crashes that killed a total of three people during the storm.
Troopers begged people to stay at home and avoid driving during the extreme wind weather.