The National Weather Service says strong winds with gusts of more than 60mph rapidly moved the dust cloud northwest through Phoenix and the cities of Avondale, Tempe and Scottsdale. More than a dozen communities in the area also were placed under a severe thunderstorm watch until 11pm.
More than 8,000 residents were left without power, although most had power restored by later that evening.
The Arizona Republic reported winds also downed live wires in Tempe that sparked a fire at a busy intersection, but firefighters were able to quickly extinguish the blaze.
The Federal Aviation Administration said on its website that because of low visibility in the area, no Phoenix-bound flights were allowed to leave Las Vegas or Los Angeles airports until 9pm, and flights at the airport were grounded for about an hour.
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