Severe storms caused school closures and extensive damage in Mesa, Phoenix
Phoenix (3TV/CBS5) – The second round of storms proved stronger than the first as strong winds and heavy rain battered parts of the Phoenix area Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning.
At the height of the storm, more than 19,000 residents across the valley were without power. Power has been restored to most APS customers, but about 2,200 SRP customers were still without power as of 1 p.m. Wednesday. The areas experiencing the highest number of SRP outages are Mesa and Apache Junction. Some people sustained damage to their mobile homes near McKillips and Riker roads in Mesa. Goodyear experienced wind gusts of more than 40 mph. Another round of storms early Wednesday hit Globe and south Scottsdale, prompting the National Weather Service to issue a severe thunderstorm warning for the area.
Downed power poles were reported in central Phoenix, near 17th Street and Oak Street, north of McDowell Road. The nearest anemometer showed winds at about 35 mph but a small explosion may have brought down those lines. Due to widespread power outages, Camelback High School was forced to switch to virtual learning. Flash flooding also hit downtown Phoenix, and golf ball-sized hail fell in parts of Chandler.
In Mesa, extensive damage was reported at Falcon Field Park, where Arizona Family crews spotted downed trees, damaging ramadas and restaurants. At the nearby airport, at least six planes could be seen capsized due to strong winds. Mesa Police said they are working around the clock to secure the area. The damage was so severe for Zaharis Elementary School that classes were canceled. Officials say the roof needs to be repaired so students will not return to campus until Tuesday at the earliest. Teachers will give students learning activities at home while the school is closed.
In one Mesa home, an air conditioning unit exploded from the roof and landed on two cars. The unit smashed the car’s windshield and caused a dent in another car.
Meanwhile, in Scottsdale, crews have been out since early morning to clear fallen trees and debris. Neighborhoods south of Chaparral Road were hardest hit by rain and strong winds. City officials say more than 100 trees fell in city parks, including just 60 near Vista del Camino and El Dorado parks. More than two dozen trees fell along roads and medians in Old Town Scottsdale.
Desert Tails, a non-profit animal shelter in Scottsdale, is cleaning up the big mess caused by the storms. “I’m not going to lie. “I panicked a little bit because it felt like a tornado,” said Chrissy Metzger, a shelter partner at Desert Tails. She was working when the powerful storm hit around 8 p.m. Tuesday. “I brought in our last dog, and it hit the spot,” she said. “And everything started flying, and I stepped forward and noticed the wind and the rain and it just tore everything apart.”
She took shelter with dozens of dogs there, trying to keep them safe. “We have ground level windows and it started raining and everything started flooding in the shelter,” Metzger said. The doors were ripped straight off their tracks and the covers were torn as well. It will cost thousands of dollars to repair the damage. To donate, click/tap here.
Outside the Valley, Pinal County saw power outages due to the storm as well. Damaged power lines and poles led to a power outage at Casa Grande Airport, and several roads were closed.
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