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Weather watch: Afternoon storms, dust hit Phoenix area

(Twitter Photo/@cityofchandler)

PHOENIX — The Phoenix area was hit by storms that brought both rain and dust to the metro area on Friday afternoon.

The storm was first spotted near Gila Bend, southwest of metro Phoenix, about noon. By 2 p.m., a dust storm had hit central Phoenix and rain was falling in the West Valley.

The National Weather Service issued a dust storm warning for the Phoenix area through 4 p.m. Winds were expected to be as high as 40-50 miles per hour and drivers were warned visibility could drop to near-zero in a short amount of time.

Flights at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport were reportedly delayed about 30 minutes because of the dust, though the airport did not confirm that.

The storm cut power to at least 2,200 residents in the West Valley.

Phoenix Fire Department officials said a hotel and an apartment complex near 85th Avenue and McDowell Road were both been hit by lightning strikes.

A 911 caller saw lightning strike the roof of the two-story apartment complex and could see flames from the roof. The small fire was extinguished quickly and no injuries were reported.

The second incident occurred across the street from the apartment complex at a Sleep and Go Inn.

Crews arrived and saw damage to the roof due to a lightning strike but no evidence of any fire or injuries.

A severe thunderstorm warning expired about 2:15 p.m. for some East Valley cities.

“The stronger areas right now look to be the Chandler-Gilbert area,” Charlotte Dewey with the weather service said.

Dewey said the forecast calls for a 30-40 percent chance of showers on Saturday and a 25-30 percent chance on Sunday.

The storm front is expected to leave the area over the weekend. Monday’s high is forecast for 84 degrees.

KTAR’s Lauren Grifo and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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