Karen Briltz was terrified Wednesday morning about trying to drive through a dust storm that left her little to no visibility along Stockdale Highway.
So she sat in her car about three miles west of Allen Road. Waiting. For an hour.
Briltz, 48, had pulled over because she couldn’t see the road. Neither could many other drivers, who also idled on the side of the highway.
“I’ve never been more scared in my life,” she said. “I keep thinking (the dust is) going to stop but it doesn’t.”
Drivers on Interstate 5 from Stockdale Highway to Bear Mountain Boulevard and other parts of Kern County also had low visibility during the late morning dust storm that reached gusts of up to 35 mph in the Bakersfield area.
Poor visibility was reported throughout the San Joaquin Valley from blowing dust.
Such dust storms are uncommon this time of year, said David Spector, forecaster for the San Joaquin Valley National Weather Service.
“A lot of it has to do with the lack of precipitation,” Spector said.
Thursday also will bring strong winds, but not as severe as Wednesday’s.
Neither Bakersfield police nor California Highway Patrol reported any accidents from the dust storm.
But Briltz, who was traveling from Templeton to Bakersfield, said she couldn’t believe some people kept driving during the storm.
“People are driving like crazy out here. I thought (a) truck was going to hit me,” she said. “I called 911 trying to get a highway patrolman out here.”