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Storm levels homes in Phoenix suburb, heavily damages more

(KTAR Photo/Jim Cross)

PHOENIX — A vicious storm that whipped through a suburban Phoenix neighborhood Thursday leveled three homes and wrecked at least a dozen others.

Buckeye Valley residents near Rainbow Valley and Arlington roads watched as winds of at least 60 mph blew down houses and torrential rain fell for half an hour starting around 6:15 p.m.

One family crawled out from the rubble of their home uninjured as first responders arrived.

“It was like being in tornado,” David Ramirez of the Buckeye Valley Fire Department said early Friday.

Roofs and siding were ripped from houses, fences crumpled, utility poles crashed to the ground and pea-size hail fell from the sky.

No one on the block was hurt, Ramirez added, but nearly two dozen families were displaced.

“Once the sun comes up and the washes have receded, we can make way to lot of these homes,” Ramirez said.

Resident Holly McKinney said the experience was terrifying.

“The wind had the doors sealed shut. My sister was outside — we thought it was going to be a dust storm,” she said.

“Everybody stands outside through a dust storm. We’ve survived them forever out here.

“It was not a dust storm.”

McKinney said she had to pry open her back door so her sister could get inside to safety.

A shelter was set up at Estrella Foothills High School.

The storm blasted across the Valley. Power lines were down in Goodyear and the National Weather Service reported almost 1.75 inches of rain hit the streets there.

In other parts of metro Phoenix, thick dust clouded the skies. The haboob was estimated to have been 70 miles wide and about 5,000 feet high.

Strong storms lashed the Phoenix area on Monday night with electric utilities reporting more than 120,000 customers losing power.

Arizona’s monsoon season runs from mid-June to the end of September.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Jim Cross and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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