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Rain, wind cause countywide closures
Storms that moved through Yuma County Thursday dumped a total of 1.87 inches of rain as of just after 7 p.m. and it's not over yet.
Those figures are from Accuweather.com meteorologist Heather Buchman who added that Yuma County received 2.36 inches of rain since Tuesday from a storm front that moved through Southern California and Arizona.
She said there could still be some strong thunderstorms Friday, "but it doesn't look like the threat is as great as it is (Thursday night)."
The National Weather Service issued a tornado watch Thursday afternoon that lasted through Thursday evening.
Buchman said there was an unconfirmed sighting of a tornado that touched down near Interstate 10 in Blythe, Calif.
The weekend will be dry and cool, Buchman said, with highs around 64.
Several schools throughout Yuma County closed Thursday because of wet weather conditions, officials said, while other area schools released students early to make sure they could get home safely.
All San Pasqual schools were closed Thursday and will remain closed Friday, said Dianna Balderas, secretary to the principal. Parking areas are flooded and some classrooms have sustained water, she noted.
In order to prevent further water from seeping into schools, the San Pasqual Reservation Fire Department began placing sandbags around the buildings, according to Sasha Nerva, SPRFD office manager.
Yuma Elementary School District 1, Wellton schools and Yuma Union High School District also closed early Thursday. YUHSD Superintendent Toni Badone said because of the high winds, they did not want to jeopardize buses and closed early.
Crane Elementary School District, however, followed the regular dismissal time Thursday.
Because flooding and high winds are expected to continue, the following will be closed Friday: Immaculate Conception, Yuma Lutheran, YUHSD, District 1, Crane Elementary, Somerton schools and Yuma Catholic High School. All YUHSD extracurricular activities are canceled.
Additional schools may be closed. Parents are asked to contact them directly to find out when school will resume.
Tami White, program director for Yuma High School's dance program said the concert planned for Friday evening has been rescheduled. People are encouraged to contact her directly at 580-3385 for further information.
Meanwhile, Arizona Western College and Northern Arizona University-Yuma dismissed students in the early afternoon Thursday, following the lead of other school closures, said Lori Stofft, director of public relations and marketing.
"It's a safety issue with us. We want people to get home before the afternoon winds pick up. Also, because of faculty and students who are parents need to pick up their kids at other schools that already closed," said Stofft.
AWC/NAU-Yuma will not hold classes on Friday, according to a Tweet sent out Thursday night. Business offices for both schools will also be closed. People should check the college's Web page, www.azwestern.edu, to see when classes will resume. Updates about the closures will continue to be posted to the college's Facebook and Twitter accounts, according Stofft.
All Yuma County libraries closed at 5 p.m. Thursday, but all were expected to open as planned on Friday morning.
The Yuma County Sheriff’s Office was monitoring several temporary road closures Thursday, including Martinez Lake Road north of Highway 95, Red Cloud Mine Road, Dome Valley Road south of Highway 95, Aberdeen Road, and County 11th and 12th streets east of Somerton Avenue.
Also, in the city of Yuma, 1st Avenue between 21st and 24th streets and 28th Street between 1st and 4th avenues were closed Thursday due to flooding.
Both Desert Hills and Arroyo Dunes golf courses were closed Thursday due to flooding, said city spokesman Dave Nash.
However, the Putter Inn Restaurant at Desert Hills, 1245 W. Desert Hills Drive, remained open to accommodate scheduled luncheon groups.
No timetable had been set Thursday for reopening the two golf courses, Nash said adding that "Even if rain subsides today, these courses will not reopen today due to lasting impacts of current course conditions. Yuma Parks and Recreation will monitor course conditions before deciding whether play can take place on Friday."
The Bark Park, 1705 E. Palo Verde St., also remained closed because of the rain, Nash said. While no date or time is set, it is anticipated that the park will reopen once the site has dried out.
As for problems with electricity, Arizona Public Service reported fewer than 100 customer outages on Thursday.
"We don't have many customers out of power considering the severity of the weather we are having," said Cindy Ferrell of APS. "The only thing we have are some small scattered outages."
Ferrell said the only report of a downed power line was at Highway 95 between County 8th Street and County 10th Street.
She said work crews were on scene at about 2:40 p.m. Thursday to begin repairs at the site.
On Avenue B between 17th and 18th streets, a vehicle struck a power pole and transformer. Ferrell added that the accident did not result in the loss of power to any customers. Work crews responded to the scene and performed temporary repairs, but will have to replace the pole on Friday.
Sun staff writers William Roller, Joyce Lobeck, Stephanie A. Wilken and James Gilbert contributed to this report.