ADOT recognized by National Weather Service for driver safety efforts

Dust Detection System, awareness campaigns among innovations noted

PHOENIX -  Arizona Department of Transportation innovations designed to improve driver safety and awareness during bad weather conditions have earned recognition from the National Weather Service, which has cited ADOT as a “Weather Ready Nation Ambassador of Excellence.”

Because Arizona’s climate ranges from low desert to Alpine extremes, ADOT works with National Weather Service offices in Phoenix, Tucson, Flagstaff and Las Vegas to constantly monitor a remarkable range of weather activity. This includes heat events, major winter storms, monsoon storms that can produce deadly lightning and flash flooding, the effects of wildfires, high winds and other occurrences throughout Arizona. 

With central Arizona being a prime location for dust storms, in 2019 ADOT installed a state-of-the-art X-band radar dust detection system on portions of Interstate 10 between Phoenix and Tucson, as well as variable speed limit signs that adjust in response to poor weather such as dust storms or heavy rainfall. 

DOT also coordinates with the National Weather Service on an emergency action plan to respond quickly to flooding emergencies, especially in areas burned out by wildfires where flooding can be more severe. Streamlined communication and preventative measures as part of the federal Pathfinder Program allow maintenance crews to take quick action to close highways and keep drivers safe in the event of flooding.

Among the weather-related safety initiatives promoted by ADOT are the “Pull Aside, Stay Alive” dust storm awareness effort and the “Know Snow” campaign for winter driving safety.

“The National Weather Service and ADOT work closely to promote safety for all Arizona drivers. Weather conditions in Arizona can bring extreme heat, blinding dust storms, flash flooding, thunderstorms, snow, ice and many other conditions that challenge drivers”, said Acting Warning Coordination Meteorologist Jaret Rogers. “Our partnership is vital for making roadways as safe as possible during adverse weather conditions and ADOT has promoted innovative safety measures and awareness campaigns. This has earned ADOT the distinction of being known as a National Weather Service Weather Ready Nation Ambassador of Excellence.”

“Safety is the number one priority for the Arizona Department of Transportation and we rely very heavily on great partners like the National Weather Service,” said ADOT Transportation Systems and Management Operations Director Brent Cain. “Arizona weather can range from temperatures in the 80s in one part of the state to snow in another, sometimes on the same day. Without our relationship with the National Weather Service, it would be difficult to effectively meet the safety needs of the public. We’re grateful for this recognition.”

For more information: 

https://www.weather.gov/wrn/ambassador_recognition

Know Snow, Dust Detection: https://azdot.gov/about/transportation-safety/severe-weather