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    PHOTOS: Texas Towns Engulfed by Intense Dust Storm

    By Samantha-Rae Tuthill, AccuWeather.com Staff Writer
    March 22, 2014; 3:01 AM ET
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    With much of the central Plains and Southwest in the grip of a moderate to exceptional drought, high winds whipping across the parched ground have been stirring up dust storms. Unlike a haboob, which is caused by an approaching thunderstorm, dust storms are the result of high winds and dry, dusty earth.

    Low pressure pushing across the country on Tuesday left a wake of strong winds across the Plains, sending dust flying into the air and spreading dangerous wildfires.

    According to AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Andrew Baglini, winds gusted up to 55 mph across Lubbock, Texas. Visibility was reduced to near zero.

    Dust storms can create dangerous travel conditions when visibility is lowered, as well as causing eye irritation and making breathing difficult for those prone to respiratory problems. The best way to avoid these risks is to stay inside when a dust storm is occurring, being careful to keep all doors and windows close and blocking open spaces under doors with damp towels to trap the dirt.

    South Central US Interactive Radar
    Air Quality Forecast
    Powerful Winds Prompt Dust Storm

    Dust billows into Amarillo, Texas. (Instagram/alli_smeaton)

    Video of the dust storm taken about 11 miles north east of Spearman, Texas. (Instagram/nekouian)

    Dusty skies line a fence in Lubbock, Texas. (Instagram/justinb4evnl)

    AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Andrew Baglini explains the dust storm that swept through Texas on Tuesday.

    Despite being in the garage all day, this car was still coated with dust in Amarillo, Texas. (Instagram/aimeeboyett)

    Have questions, comments, or a story to share? Email Samantha-Rae Tuthill at SamanthaRae.Tuthill@accuweather.com, follow her on Twitter @Accu_Sam or Google+. Follow us @breakingweather, or on Facebook and Google+.

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