Monsoon storm wreaks havoc on Tempe, East Valley


by Catherine Holland

Video reports by Jill Galus and Ryan O'Donnell

Posted on August 27, 2013 at 6:44 AM

Updated Wednesday, Aug 28 at 4:19 PM

Map: Baseline and Kyrene
Grove Parkway and Kyrene

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TEMPE, Ariz. – Mother Nature left a swath of damage in her path after ripping through the Phoenix metro area. The East Valley was particularly hard hit by the storm, which lasted about 45 minutes Monday evening.

The heavy winds uprooted a large tree, causing it to fall on to the roof of a mobile home in the neighborhood of Baseline and Kyrene roads in Tempe.

The homeowner told 3TV’s Jill Galus he was inside when the tree fell and a portion of the roof collapsed. The man said he was sitting on the other side of the room and was not injured.

The situation was similar a few miles south at the Elliot’s Crossing apartment complex at Grove Parkway and Kyrene Road.

Aerial video from Chopper 3 showed trees down all over the property. It also showed the pool, full of patio furniture that had been swept away by the wind.

Broken limbs from a eucalyptus tree smashed the hood, windshield and back window of a parked car. Owner Tessa Musel said she considered moving the car -- her first -- when she saw the wind picking up.

"I probably should have listened to that gut, but I didn't and kept it right here. And now I'm paying for that," she told 3TV's Ryan O'Donnell. "Always listen to your gut feeling.

"I'm a little heartbroken," Musel continued. "I had a couple more years to pay on it, but at least it wasn't brand new. ... It's kind of a bummer."

Not far away, a mature mesquite toppled over, landing on a pickup truck. The owner said the damage was not serious, unlike Musel's car.

In addition to the intense winds, gusts peaked at 40-50 mph, Tempe also saw the most rain – 0.75 inch.

While the Tempe area seemed to bear the brunt of the storm, the wind wreaked havoc all over the Valley.

Peak wind gusts topped out at 40 mph at South Mountain, 55 mph at Sky Harbor International Airport, and a whopping 68 mph in Buckeye. The wind created a wall of dust that swept through the metro area, dropping visibility to nearing zero and forced many drivers to stop and wait it out.

Fast-moving, destructive storms like this are common during the Arizona monsoon, which begins in June and runs through the end of September.

3TV meteorologist April Warnecke said we can expect a hot and muggy Tuesday, followed by a chance for more monsoon activity tomorrow through Saturday.