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Amazing dust storm seems to swallow Phoenix

11:57 AM, Aug 27, 2013   |    comments
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About 145 customers were without power after strong monsoon storms swept through most of the Valley Monday night, according to data from electricity providers.

Patty Garcia-Likens of the Salt River Project said about 100 of their customers are without electricity as of 7 a.m. Tuesday. Most of these customers are in the cities of Glendale and Scottsdale.

Power poles were reported down near 12th and Northern avenues in Central Phoenix and the Scottsdale-Tempe area, Garcia-Likens said.

An additional 44 Arizona Public Service customers are without power, most of them residing in the Gila Bend area, according to an APS spokesman.

APS workers are repairing six power poles that fell down in the Gila Bend region and two that fell in the Buckeye area.

Garcia-Likens said SRP workers expect to regain power by Tuesday morning. APS customers should regain electricity later in the day, according to APS officials.

About 16,000 SRP customers and 13,000 APS customers were without power at the height of the storm Monday night.

At the height of weather activity Monday evening the Buckeye Municipal Airport saw the strongest wind gust at 68 mph, according to the National Weather Service.

These gusts have the potential to "take down trees and in some cases it could take down power lines," said Charlotte Dewey, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

Phoenix reported several downed trees along streets in Ahwatukee and some flooding in downtown Phoenix, according to Matthew Heil from the City of Phoenix Street Transportation Department.

The Wigwam Resort in Litchfield Park also lost several trees, some as tall as palm trees, resort general manager George McGann said.

About seven trees fell in the resort and up to 20 trees may have fallen around the resort's golf course, McGann said. A few awnings were also torn down by the storm.

"We were able to bolt everything else down before the storm got bad yesterday," McGann said. "It was a pretty big one."

Gusts topped 40 mph in the Scottsdale and Surprise area and gusts passing Sky Harbor International Airport saw a gust top 56 mph from 6-8 p.m. Monday.

The East Mesa and Apache Junction area caught the least of the storm damage, Dewey said.

Central Tempe saw the most rainfall at .75 inches and the Avondale and Buckeye areas saw .5 inches.

Rainfall at Sky Harbor International Airport measured only .34 inches but was enough to settle dust in the area, Dewey said.

Two dust storm weather warnings were issued and sent via cell phone providers to people across the Valley Monday. The alerts are sent out based on a cell phone's GPS location, Dewey said.

Two flash flood watch alerts issued by the National Weather Service for areas in north and northwest Arizona are expected to expire Tuesday evening.

The alerts cautioned for thunderstorms that could bring rain and sudden water flows in the Lake Havasu and Lake Mead National Recreation Area in northwest Arizona and the Flagstaff and Grand Canyon areas in the northern portion of the state.

The alert said to pay particular caution around creeks or river banks, dry washes and drainage channels and ground scorched by fires as they are more susceptible to flash flooding. Included in the Northern Arizona alert are the Doce and Yarnell fire burn areas.

Calmer weather is expected in the Valley and it is too early to tell if a cell phone alert will be sent Tuesday, Dewey said.

A high of 105 is expected for Tuesday, with relative humidity levels staying above 23 percent, according to the Weather Service. Temperatures should settle at 106 Wednesday as storm chances climb to 20 percent in the Valley.

The Arizona Republic-12 News Breaking News Team

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