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Yuma, county gets nearly record rainfall
The sudden onslaught of a haboob sweeping through Yuma from the northeast brought intense gusts of 46-mph wind, a wall of dust and one of the largest amounts of rainfall so far during the 2009 monsoon season.
A thunderstorm warning issued by the National Weather Service expired about 4:30 p.m. Saturday, but the rain continued to cause concern.
There was so much rain Saturday the NWS issued a flash flood watch for Yuma County until late Saturday evening. Within a two-hour period, the weather station at the Yuma airport recorded 1.62 inches of rain. That is the second highest amount of rain on a Sept. 5 in recorded history, the NWS said. The most rain ever recorded on that day was in 1939 at 2.03 inches, and the all-time record for rainfall for any date was 3.98 inches on Sept. 25, 1997.
The severe thunder storm included plenty of lighting, which caused mayhem on the power grid with several small power outages reported throughout the area.
"The minor outages were due to the lightning and wind damage, and crews will work through Saturday night to restore the power," said Andrea Bereznak, community development consultant for Arizona Public Service.
"Forty one customers were out of power in the Foothills, and a second small outage occurred at 4E and Highway 95 because of a broken pole. Due to the storm, there will be intermittent trips in the (electrical) feeders off and on that we will continue to respond to."
According to Mike Erfert, public information officer for the Yuma Fire Department, the thunderstorm caused some minor inconveniences for the local population.
Erfert said emergency personnel responded to electrical transformer fires, downed power lines, vehicle accidents and stalled vehicles.
"There have been some people who drove into storm runoff and stalled their cars, particularly under the I-8 overpass on Araby Road. If you see water, don’t try to drive through it. If you don't have to be out in the weather stay home. If you do have to be out, always take extreme caution. This is standard monsoon stuff."
According to Valerie Meyers, meteorologist with the National Weather Service, left over humidity from Hurricane Jimena was partly to blame for the thunderstorm.
"There was excess moisture over Arizona left behind by the hurricane," Meyers said. "This is a transition event. The storms are being fired off because of a disturbance caused by a low pressure system along the northern California coast mixing with the humidity and favorable sunny conditions."
According to the NWS, hazardous weather, scattered showers and thunderstorms are possible for the next seven days.
Updated at 9:47 p.m.