Eloy hit extremely hard by monsoon storm; was it a microburst?

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by Catherine Holland

azfamily.com

Posted on August 19, 2011 at 8:43 AM

Updated Friday, Aug 19 at 9:09 AM

Map: Eloy, Arizona

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ELOY, Ariz. -- While the National Weather Service has not yet confirmed it, residents of Eloy believe a microburst is to blame for the massive storm damage seen throughout the little city located southwest of Phoenix.

Aerial video showed severe damage to homes and businesses, including a Volvo parts business and a construction company that were torn apart. The roofs of as many as 100 homes appeared to have been almost stripped away.

In addition, intense wind toppled dozens of trees, several of which landed on buildings.

The NWS, which has confirmed microburst activity in San Tan Valley and Peoria/Sun City,  is sending a team to survey the damage in Eloy. They'll make the call once they have more information.

Residents of the area told 3TV's Gibby Parra that they've never seen anything like Thursday night's storm.

"We've seen dust storms and wind storms, but not as bad as it was yesterday," said Martha Medina. "It was really bad yesterday. It was unbelievable .... This is the worst I've seen since 1970"

Medina saw damage firsthand when a tree blew over and landed on her roof.

Katherine Freeley was trapped inside her home for a time.

"All of a sudden it was just wind and wind everywhere," she said. "It was blowing like you wouldn't believe."

The junior high school sustained serious damage; part of the roof was completely gone.

The school superintendent said the plan was to have the students will gather in the school gym for a head count before moving over to the high school Friday.

While many building were badly damaged, no serious injuries were reported.

The Eloy city limits encompass more than 110 square miles in Pinal County. Eloy is home to more than 11,000 people.

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