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Storms roll through Valley, taking down power lines, trees

PHOENIX — A massive wall of dust followed by thunderstorms rolled through the Valley on Monday evening, knocking down power lines and trees in Tempe and flooding streets.

Mark O’Malley with the National Weather Service said the Buckeye area had about an inch and a half of rain. Ahwatukee, Avondale, Tempe each had about a half-inch to three-quarters of an inch of rain. The strongest wind gust was recorded at the Buckeye airport, 68 mph.

As is typical of Valley storms, parts of metro Phoenix weren’t affected by the storm much at all.

“There were places in the east Valley that saw nothing at all. Most areas saw 40-50 mile per hour winds with the blowing dust which reduced visibility to a few hundred feet,” O’Malley said.

Sky Harbor Airport recorded winds of 55 mph.

Some mobile homes near Kyrene and Baseline roads in Tempe were damaged.

Diana Stewart, who resides at the Chaparral Mobile Home Park in Tempe, said her home didn’t lose power but damage was done.

“I am seeing many, many trees down but worse than that I am seeing lots of neighbors with roofs peeled off, skirting all over the road,” Stewart said. “My patio covers both front and back are all over the place.”

SRP had about 7,500 customers without power, but by late night were down to 300 customers.

APS initially reported approximately 13,000 outages in the Phoenix area, but have also made progress as the night went on.

Power was also out on Northern Avenue between Seventh Street and 19th Avenue.

Flooding was reported across the Valley on both city streets and highways.

Reports said the wall of dust was about 3,000 feet high, making the storm the largest of the 2013 monsoon season.

A dust storm warning was issued for Phoenix and other areas southeast of the Valley until 8 p.m.

The National Weather Service said winds were blowing about 20 to 30 mph with gusts as high as 40 mph.

Blowing dust was reported on Interstate 10 near Casa Grande, a historically dangerous passage of road during dust storms. Visibility was cut to one-quarter mile in some areas.

Drivers caught in dust storms are urged to pull off the road, turn their lights and vehicles off and wait for the storm to pass.

Arizona’s monsoon season begins in mid-June and runs through Sept. 30 and has
produced massive dust storms called “haboobs” in recent years.

Much of western Arizona was under a flash flood watch.

The Mohave Daily News reported that rain in the Bullhead City area closed several roads Sunday as runoff deposited mud, rocks and debris in low-lying areas.

KTAR’s Jim Cross and the Associated Press contributed to this report.