Macroburst aftermath: Cleanup continues in North Phoenix

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by azfamily.com

azfamily.com

Posted on July 27, 2014 at 7:36 AM

Updated Tuesday, Jul 29 at 11:18 AM

PHOENIX -- People are surveying the damage and nearly 200 people are still without power, after some destructive weather hit the Valley late Saturday night.

The storm delivered heavy rain, hail and strong wind that brought down trees and power poles in the area of 40th Street and Greenway Road.

The National Weather Service confirmed that there was a macroburst where the worst of the damage is located. The strongest wind gust was measured at 100 mph. Hurricane winds start at 75 miles per hour.

"We had quite a storm that came through last night," said Ken Waters, warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service. "It's a severe storm that has so much energy that it has to release it."

Waters said a macroburst occurs when strong vertical winds push down through a storm cloud to the ground and then outward.

The storm caused a lot of damage at The Edge apartment complex where trees and covered parking structures fell on cars.

"I started hearing cracking noises," said JR Reese. "I thought my windows were going to break so I grabbed my mattress and put it in front of my window. The whole building is a disaster."

Nobody was hurt but there is extensive property damage. There are reports of multiple homes with roof and water damage. It also appears that lightning sparked some house fires.

Robin Waress and her family had to find another place to stay after the roof of their home near 40th Street and Greenway Road caved in.

"I don't ever want to experience it again," she said. "We got like little shoots of water streaming out of the ceiling, so we started grabbing stuff, and then you could see it start bowing and then it cracked. A flap fell and then an hour and a half afterwards, the rest of the roof fell."

Waress and her family had to pick through the debris, which had barricaded them inside the home.

Another home nearby also had significant roof damage.

"It was kind of scary but all the neighbors came out," Terry Hood said. "It's all going to be all right."

Many people said their insurance adjusters would not be able to survey the damage until at least Monday.

"It came out of nowhere," said a man who witnessed the storm. "We were actually going to get something to eat and we got back and about 10 minutes later the wind picked up and everything looked like a tornado and everything just blew all over the place."

"Never seen weather this bad. It was pretty bad. Very scary, most wind I've seen, felt like there should have been a tornado outside," said a woman who witnessed the storm.

"The weather was amazing but I'm sad because people's stuff got destroyed," said another woman.

"We had a microburst or something and ripped our roof off. We had water coming in the living room," said a woman who had storm damage at her home.

"We're alive. We're above ground. We're breathing oxygen you know. It's just material things. All this we're going to fix or replace no problem and my family's okay, all my neighbors are okay so you know we're all great," said a man who was checking out the storm damage on Sunday morning.

APS originally said 15,000 customers did not have electricity as of Sunday morning but later revised that number up to 23,000 customers.

"Our crews have made some great progress since last night," said Steven Gotfried with APS. "We've been able to restore power to about seven thousand customers but as people have been waking up and have been calling in to report outages we are actually increasing the estimate of how many customers we had to about twenty-three thousand."

By 4 p.m., power had reportedly been restored to all but 2,270 APS customers. By Monday morning, that number was way down, but more than 170 were still without power. APS expected to have them back up and running by Monday afternoon.

Gotfried said dozens of crews are working to replace the damaged power poles with new metal poles. Crews have been brought in from all over the state, including Flagstaff.

"We're seeing outages occur from tree limbs and power poles and power wires, wind snapping power poles down, some transformers toppled. We're seeing all sorts of different damage that has occurred."

Gotfried said APS customers without electricity should call 855-688-2437.

"Because we don't know that you have an outage until you call in," explained Gotfried. "So if we can get all of our customers who have an outage to call in we can better evaluate what work still needs to be done."

There is a chance for more storms around Arizona this week.

More information as it becomes available

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