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May 14, 2014 8:28 PM by John Patrick

Windiest spring start in 9 years

TUCSON - The Old Pueblo is off to one of the windiest spring seasons since 2005.

The Pima County Department of Environmental Quality has issued seven Air Quality Advisories so far this year and many Southern Arizonans are ready for the winds to die down.

Jennifer Ratliff has lived in Southern Arizona for 45 years and says this is the windiest spring she can remember.

"I don't like the wind at all. It makes my asthma worse, it makes my allergies worse which just means more doctors visits," explains Ratliff.

According to the National Weather Service Tucson office, 2014 has been the 17th windiest on record so far. Beth Gorman with PDEQ says with the severe and extreme drought conditions the problem is only made worse by the blowing dust.

Gorman says, "I've issued seven air quality advisories and that is a record. The average is about three or four through this time of year."

News 4 Tucson's Chief Meteorologist Matt Brode says gusty winds are typical this time of year as dry storm systems move through the region but theses winds may be getting more attention because of all the particulate matter in the air.

"We've had very little rain in the last several months so anytime the wind blows people are going to be more aware of it with allergies, respiratory issues and bad air quality," explains Brode.

This year Tucson has seen dust blow in all the way from Southeast California, New Mexico and Northern Mexico. The average wind speed that has been transporting that dust our way has only been increasing since March with both April and May seeing above normal wind speeds.

25 of the 74 days so far this meteorological spring have been windier than normal and until we see a significant amount of rainfall, poor air quality will continue to be an issue on these windy days.

Up to the hour air quality information is available from PDEQ at airinfonow.org

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