Massive dust storm envelops Phoenix

Updated at 2:14 a.m. Eastern.

PHOENIX (AP) - A massive dust storm has swept into the Phoenix area and drastically reduced visibility across the valley.

The wall of dust moved across the desert from the south on Tuesday and descended on the valley by nightfall. KSAZ-TV reported the storm appeared to be roughly 50 miles wide.

Viewers told CBS 5 News they can't see 50 feet in front of their faces.

The National Weather Service says strong winds with gusts of more than 60 mph were moving northwest through Phoenix and the cities of Avondale, Tempe and Scottsdale. More than a dozen communities in the area also were under a severe thunderstorm watch until 11 p.m.

Scottsdale resident James Pettey told CBS News that the worst of the wind gusts had passed by 11 p.m. local time, but there was still a considerable amount of dust blowing around.

"Everything is out," said Pettey, noting power outages in the Phoenix suburb. It wasn't immediately clear how widespread the outages were in Tempe and Scottsdale.

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 9 p.m.