Another Round of Storms Cause More Damage Around Phoenix

Yet another storm in the Phoenix area this weekend caused more damage, including flooding, downed power lines, fires, and more.

"We were extremely busy [on Saturday]," Phoenix Fire Captain Ruben Saavedra tells New Times.

See also: -September 8: Storm Around Phoenix Causes Power Outages, Traffic Nightmares

Saavedra says most of the calls to the fire department were related to downed power lines and things like trees catching fire, and there were only a few calls related to flooding issues. There was one commercial building that caught fire, but fire crews were able to limit the damage, Saavedra says.

The previous storm to hit Phoenix hard, on September 8, brought record rainfall and widespread flooding issues around the Valley. Still, according to a report from the National Weather Service, more than 1.25 inches of rain was reported in some areas around Phoenix this weekend, which did cause flooding issues.

At the Arizona State Fairgrounds, for example -- which hosted the Maricopa County Home and Garden Show this weekend -- people ended up having to wade through water.

Meanwhile, strong winds also caused damage at several places, including Sky Harbor airport. Airport spokeswoman Heather Lissner says wind blew out a window in Terminal 4, and damaged the roof in Terminal 2, near the baggage claim area, as well as other areas near some of the gates. All of the repairs were completed Saturday night, Lissner says.

According to the National Weather Service, wind gusts of 67 mph were reported at the airport.

The storm also caused major power outages -- the two utilities reported more than 80,000 customers experiencing power outages on Saturday. At the time of this post, SRP reported 111 customers still without power, and APS reported 442 without power. Most of APS' current outages are around Central Phoenix, while SRP is reporting several smaller outages in different locations around Phoenix.

The City of Phoenix Street Transportation Department reported a laundry-list of street closures and traffic-signal outages over the weekend, but almost all of the streets had been cleared by Sunday morning.

This storm comes at just about the end of the monsoon season, and this year's season brought much more rain than usual. According to the National Weather Service, 6.3 inches of rain was recorded during monsoon season in Phoenix this year, well above the yearly average of about 2.7 inches.

A statement from the NWS says the changing of seasons was a factor for the weekend's storms: "As the weather system approached, wind shear throughout the region was gaining strength and ingredients were lining up for the event to become quite severe. A transitional event like this, where the warm temperatures are slowly changing to a cooler air-mass and the wind begins to shift from southerly to more west-northwesterly can create strong thunderstorms."

UPDATE 1:23 p.m.: Monica Hernandez, a spokeswoman for Phoenix's Street Transportation Department says crews are still out in the city clearing up the streets. She says most of the roadway problems involved trees blocking roadways, flooding, and the traffic-signal outages.

She urges people to call the city if a road needs to be cleared, and said the city's storm update webpage is the best resource for city residents seeking storm-related information.

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Matthew Hendley
Contact: Matthew Hendley