|Stormy at the Yuma Sun|
Yuma Sun staffers make a video during unusual storm.
|Less than 2 minutes|
How fast can a dust storm affect visibility? This video shows how quickly a monsoon thunderstorm can hit. (YumaSun.com file video - Jul. 18, 2009)
|Storm winds and damage|
A strong thunderstorm blew through Yuma Saturday (7-18-09) afternooon knocking out power in some areas and causing minor damage. Video by Janet Chasse
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Brief intense storm causes minor damage
An unusual storm that blew up from east to west caused minor damage in Yuma for several hours on Saturday.
It was the last gasp of a "dry thunderstorm" that produced wind gusts of more than 50 mph, said Alan Reppert, senior meteorologist for AccuWeather.com. The storm had insignificant precipitation but produced a dust storm known as a "haboob." The storm type is more common to African deserts but also known to occur in Arizona, he said.
In the event residents are still without power as of 9 a.m. this morning, the Yuma Fire Department, police and the American Red Cross will have sites for residents to go to avoid the heat of the day, the city said in a news release.
"At this point, it looks like power will be back on," YFD spokesman Mike Erfert said about 9:30 p.m. Saturday night. "The information we are getting from APS is that the main feeder lines are back in service."
But he said city emergency officials want to be prepared in the event Arizona Public Service workers are still working on restoring power once the day starts heating up. Yuma residents who remain without power this morning can call 1-928-373-4850 for the location of a site they can go to that will be available to stay cool.
YFD says families should have emergency plans in place, as "this probably isn't the only time we'll be dealing with storms such as these," Erfert said.
Also, YFD said that when intersection traffic control lights are out, that intersection should be treated as if it was controlled by a 4-way stop sign.
At the height of the storm 5,200 customers lost electrical power, said Dan Wool, Arizona Public Service spokesman. But 90 percent of those had power restored by 8 p.m. About 500 customers remained without power but they were expected to be back online by 2 a.m., he said.
Power failure was owing mostly to lines that blew down from intense winds and a few that were downed by falling tree limbs, he added. Outages were scattered all across Yuma, including the Yuma Police Department.
YPD was without power between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m., yet generators allowed their computers to continue operating and maintaining essential services, said Sgt. Wayne Boyd, the on-duty sergeant.
Traffic lights were out at 16th Street and First Avenue, 16th Street and Interstate-8, 16th and 32nd Streets and Arizona Avenue, Boyd said. There were also a number of alarm systems at various businesses that were tripped but all were false alarms owing to the storm, he noted.
There were also two non-injury minor traffic accidents, he said. At 5:11 p.m. at Pacific Avenue and 16th Street a blue Crown Victoria collided with a red Chevrolet Cavalier. And at 5:57 p.m. a gray Honda Civic and a black passenger vehicle collided. The cause of the accidents were possibly because of the lack of traffic signals, he noted.
In approximately half the area of San Luis power was also out, Sgt. Joe Johnson reported. He added, he was not aware of what precisely caused the outages but power had been restored after a couple of hours. There were no accidents or fires, but considerable debris was scattered across roads that was cleared by officers, he said.