Rare May storm brings wind, power loss
by Eddi Trevizo - May. 19, 2009 09:35 AM
The Arizona Republic
The Valley will be under a 'hazardous weather' watch this week with possible early summer thunderstorms bringing in rains and damaging winds, Phoenix National Weather Service officials said.
About 10,000 East Valley residents lost power in an unusually early thunderstorm Monday night. Localized microburst winds in excess of 58 miles per hour, tore down eight power poles near Mesa and University drives about 10 p.m Monday, said Jeff Lane, spokesman for the Salt River Project.
SRP crews will be working all day Tuesday to repair damage to the poles and have managed to re-route power to most of the thousands of customers affected by Monday night's thunderstorm. "About 250 customers are still without power today," Lane said.
Authorities with the Phoenix National Weather Service said a 20 percent chance of thunderstorms will continue on and off through Friday in most parts of Central Arizona. The thunderstorms may bring damaging winds and some rain, but little chance of flooding.
"The main hazard will be very strong winds with billowing dust and the associated hazard to motorists," said Phoenix National Weather Service officials in a hazardous weather statement.
Keith Kincaid, a meteorologist for the Phoenix National Weather Service, said the thunderstorms are caused by moisture entering the atmosphere through the south.
"May and June are typically pretty dry. Monsoon season doesn't really start until later, but there is enough moisture in the air right now to support the thunderstorms," Kincaid said.
Partly cloudy skies and high temperatures ranging from 91 to 100 degrees are expected to last throughout the week. Officials expect a 30 percent chance of showers Wednesday and Thursday evenings after 11 p.m. Sunny, mostly clear skies are anticipated Sunday and on Memorial Day, with high temperatures reaching about 97 degrees.