Arizona typically experiences two dust storms seasons. In the spring, these storms are usually caused by large-scale weather systems moving across the state. The second season comes with the monsoon.
Monsoon related dust storms tend to be shorter in duration, but they can be more intense. It is during the monsoon when haboobs - with wind gusts up to 100 mph - are most likely to form.
"Many people are killed on the highway because either they...don't pull off to the side or, if they do, they leave their foot on the brake," said Kirk Astroth, the associate dean of the University of Arizona College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
Astroth, who took inspiration from similar apps warning about snow storms, developed an app to alert motorists about pending dust storms.
Dustin Krugel, public information officer at the Arizona Department of Transportation, said the app, alongside other tools such as the ADOT twitter feed, overhead signs on the freeway, the 511 dial up system, and social media outlets are ways drivers can find out about dust storms, before hitting the road.
"Our top recommendation is to avoid getting caught in one of those dust storms," Krugel said. "However, a lot of these dust storms seem to strike out of nowhere."
For those who do get caught in a dust storm, Krugel recommended pulling off the paved roadway, coming to a complete stop, and turning off all of the lights. This prevents other motorists from thinking the car is still moving, and possibly hitting it.