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Apr 8, 2013 6:32 PM by Ryan Haarer

New app helps Arizonans prepare for major dust storms

TUCSON - With spring fully underway some of us are itching and sneezing with allergies. With all the dust blowing around we are reminded that haboobs and monsoon storms are right around the corner. Now there is an app to help you avoid the very real dangers in that big cloud of dirt.

"Just blowing dust is a human health hazard. There's lots of pathogens in the dust and certainly in Tucson we are aware of Valley Fever. Anything that stirs up dust like that has to be a concern for us," said Kirk Astroth with the U of A Cooperative Extension.

That's why Kirk and a team created a dust storm app to help you avoid or get through a haboob safely.

"If there are weather alerts issued by the national weather service, it pops right up on your phone. It has a tips page, so it tells you what to do if you find yourself caught in a dust storm. It has features where you can enter your car insurance information," said Astroth.

The insurance information is for people on the road. Accidents are frequent during dust storms because people follow taillights in low visibility. But Astroth says this is just the start of an even more productive application.

"They have the software we hope to eventually build into this that can predict a haboob two days in advance using satellite technology."

The team is currently working on Android compatibility. To download the free app, search ‘dust storm' in the iTunes catalog.

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