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4 died in car crashes in California sandstorm
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08:35, October 18, 2007

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Strong winds caused blowing dirt and sand in California's desert areas and reduced visibility to near zero, killing four people in separate car accidents, local newspapers reported Wednesday.

Two people were killed and at least 16 injured Tuesday in two accidents several hundred meters apart along Highway 58 near Mojave, according to the Bakersfield Californian newspaper.

Meanwhile, more than a dozen vehicles slammed into one another when a blinding sandstorm surprised motorists in the high desert north of Los Angeles, killing at least two and injuring 12 others.

The Los Angeles Times reported that three crashes occurred within minutes on the northbound 14 Freeway in Lancaster near Los Angeles shortly after 1:30 p.m. local time Tuesday. The crashes left vehicles scattered about the road and highway median.

The U.S. National Weather Service issued a dust storm warning for the Antelope Valley Tuesday afternoon, cautioning that blowing dust in the region could reduce visibility to near zero.

Like the rest of California, the Antelope Valley has been bone-dry this year, meaning that dirt and sand are not packed down in the ground and are more likely to swirl in the face of strong winds, meteorologists said.

Source: Xinhua

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