/ Modified aug 13, 2021 12:08 p.m.

Dust Storm Warnings; Polling Credibility; Housing Affordability

Plus, why the Vail School District is spearheading a tiny-home community for teachers.

Rain and wind storms from this year's monsoon have derailed trains, delayed flights and forced transportation officials to shut down roads. This week Arizona 360 learned more about dust-detection software the Arizona Department of Transportation is installing along a vulnerable stretch of Interstate 10 to prevent dust-related crashes.

New technology will detect if high amounts of dust particles are in the air that could hamper visibility. It will automatically activate warnings on electronic road signs and lower the speed limit on variable speed limit signs. Cameras will allow workers at ADOT's traffic operations center in Phoenix to monitor the situation in real time.

"We can't stop a dust storm. But what we can do is give you the information as a driver so that you can pull aside and let the dust storm pass," public information officer Tom Herrmann said.

Installation of the new alert system is expected to finish in fall 2019. It coincides with ongoing construction to widen the interstate near Picacho Peak and build a new interchange at State Route 87.

Meteorologists at the National Weather Service in Phoenix study dust storms in the region. Warning-coordination meteorologist Ken Waters has also offered input on how to develop a cost-effective alert system like the one ADOT plans to install along I-10 to detect dust storms. Waters explained some of the factors that contribute to a monsoon with more intense and frequent dust storms.

As campaign season ramps up, poll results are making regular appearances in the media cycle. But how much trust should we place in the results? It's a question many asked themselves following the 2016 presidential election, when most polls had Hillary Clinton leading over then-candidate Donald Trump. Arizona 360 got insight from Javelina CEO Catherine Alonzo. Her company works with political campaigns and is currently consulting the gubernatorial campaign of David Garcia.

Arizonans have less than two weeks to register to vote for the primary election on Aug. 28, and a little less than three months to register for the general election on Nov. 6. Organizations across the state are working together to register 200,000 new voters by then, mostly in underserved and minority communities. Mi Familia Vota is one of those groups attempting to reach Hispanic voters. The group's Tucson coordinator Anakarina Rodriguez shared about its efforts to register 9,000 voters in Pima County.

Many Arizona public school teachers will get a bump in pay this upcoming school year after the state provided enough funding for a 9 percent raise. For some educators earning less than their community's median household income, finding affordable housing can be difficult. The Vail School District heard this from staff and is moving forward with plans to create a community of tiny homes that staff can either rent or purchase.

According to economists at the University of Arizona, the Tucson metro housing market is one of the most affordable among metro areas in the western United States. Michael Bond, senior lecturer in finance at the UA Eller College of Management, explained more about affordability in the state.

Arizona 360
Arizona 360 airs Fridays at 8:30 p.m. on PBS 6 and Saturdays at 8 p.m. on PBS 6 PLUS. See more from Arizona 360.
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