Wall of dust covers Chandler, Gilbert area; thousands without power at height of storm
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — A First Alert Weather Day has been declared for Friday as a massive wall of dust moved through the Southeast Valley. The dust storm formed in Casa Grande and moved into the Chandler and Gilbert area around 6 p.m. The wall of dust, which some call a haboob, was roughly 50 miles wide and up to 6,000 feet tall. Aerials from Arizona’s Family news chopper showed the dust consuming different neighborhoods. It was one of the most spectacular walls of dust so far this monsoon. Peak wind gusts reached up to 65 miles per hour, and there were numerous reports of zero visibility in the storm.
However, the storm and strong winds left many without power. At the storm’s height, nearly 5,000 SRP customers were without power in the Southeast Valley. Meanwhile, for APS customers, about 2,000 people didn’t have power in the metro Phoenix area.
The National Weather Service issued a severe thunderstorm warning for parts of the East Valley, including Chandler, Gilbert and Apache Junction. It expired at 6:30 p.m, and no rain storms came through. However, some parts of San Tan Valley got a few hundredths of an inch of rain.
Earlier on Friday afternoon, aerials from Arizona’s Family’s news chopper spotted blowing dust close to Fountain Hills and ominous clouds in the distance. It appeared the storms might bring rain, but they fizzled before hitting the Valley. Then the massive haboob hit from the southeast. Parts of Pinal County were under a dust storm warning, but that has also expired.
The Valley is under a severe thunderstorm watch until 11 p.m. for isolated rain, wind gusts and lightning. There’s about a 30 to 40% chance of rain, and the wet weather could come during the evening commute. Click/tap here for live radar.
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