Two microbursts bring strong winds, dust, rain to Valley

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by Tami Hoey

3TV Team Coverage

Posted on July 15, 2013 at 5:37 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jul 16 at 6:16 PM

PHOENIX -- The Valley is drying out after two powerful microbursts blew into town Monday evening, bringing dust, rain, hail and strong winds.

The National Weather Service says one microburst near Ahwatukee carried winds up to 60 miles per hour. A second one near Arizona Avenue and Ray Road in Chandler had winds up to 70 mph.

The Ahwatukee Foothills area got hit hard during the storms, as the skies darkened and opened up, dousing the streets with rain. 

The heavy downpour made for a hazardous rush hour.

"We drove in it and couldn't see anything," Angela Merlot said. "There were huge pieces of trees blowing down the street."

The storm was brief but caused significant damage.

"What a mess," said one woman, shaking her head as she surveyed the damage in her neighborhood. "What a mess."

The two microbursts led to downed poles, uprooted trees, and even a large saguaro cactus that got torn apart by the gusty winds in Ahwatukee.

"I've never seen anything like it," exclaimed one homeowner. "It was like a freight train!"

Near 32nd Street and Pecos, Chopper 3 showed us some heavy damage at a new housing development just behind Desert Vista High School. We found roofs blown apart and the structures of some homes under construction actually collapsed. Some of the houses were completely leveled.

"It's unbelievable," said one woman who moved here from the Midwest. "Houses that have been here for ages with tiles off their roofs? Trees through walls? That's a Minnesota thing; that's not a Phoenix thing."

Earlier, near Dobson and Elliot roads, one homeowner's trampoline got blown right into the pool.

Some neighborhoods also saw scattered power outages. At one point 4,500 East Valley SRP customers were reportedly without power. SRP was working to restore power to all the homes.

And get ready; there's more of this monsoon activity to come. Meteorologist Royal Normal says we should expect to see similar storms in the near future. Conditions are coming together and we’ll have an increased number of showers and thunderstorms across Arizona this week, especially later in the week.

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