At least 40-60 cars have been involved in traffic accidents on I-55 in Illinois, because of a sandstorm. Local authorities confirmed several deaths, without giving an exact number, saying at least 30 people had been taken to hospital. At least two trucks caught fire after one of the accidents.
The highway was closed in both directions in Montgomery County, 75 miles (120 kilometres) north of St. Louis. «The cause of the accidents is the strong winds that blow dirt from agricultural fields across the highway, resulting in zero visibilityIllinois State Police Major Ryan Starek said at a news conference. Starek said such blinding dust storms have already occurred on Illinois roads “where there are unfortunately excessively strong winds” that blow topsoil off fields. Currently, farmers are busy planting fields throughout Illinois and the Midwest region. Starrick said I-55 will be closed until late morning or early afternoon on Tuesday. “Visibility in the area is reported to be low due to flying dust,” the Illinois State Police said in a statement earlier. “Traffic has been diverted to alternative routes.”
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