Wind gusts here among top in state
Rain recorded at MCAS sets new record after second storm hits area
Yuma had record rainfall from Monday’s severe thunderstorms, according to the National Weather Service in Phoenix, but it was the wind gusts that nearly topped out the state.
As of mid-afternoon Tuesday, the highest wind gust from the haboob and severe thunderstorms was recorded at 71 mph about 10 miles south, southeast from Martinez Lake (along the river in Imperial County, Calif.), according to NWS data.
The NWS website cautioned that the number may be eclipsed as more data was collected from remote monitoring stations, which it was later Tuesday afternoon, after a delayed remote report from a station in Florence recording winds of 80 mph about 11:15 p.m. Monday night.
“A severe thunderstorm will have gusts of 58 mph or greater. So that was definitely a severe level wind,” NWS spokesman James Sawtelle said of the wind gust at Martinez Lake.
When asked if that was a record for wind in addition to the rain, Sawtelle noted that it was not.
“Records aren’t kept on wind gusts,” he said, as they would be broken all the time.
The rain recorded at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma (which is the NWS official recording station, Sawtelle said) was 0.14 inches, a record for the day. The last record was 0.05”, set in 1963.
Other areas in Yuma County saw a lot of rain, the NWS noted, including areas north of Dateland (0.76 inches), Tacna (0.48”), and the area south to southwest of the Fortuna Foothills got 0.24 about 10 Monday evening.
Statewide, electricity outages affected about 50,000 to 60,000 people, Arizona Public Service spokeswoman Annie DeGraw said, with about 4,000 residents
in Yuma County without power.
DeGraw said that Tuesday evening’s storm knocked down 200 power poles across the southern half of the state.
“Just to give you some context, we lost 250 poles last summer over the threeand-a-half months (of monsoon season),” she said.
Some of the poles lost Tuesday were reinforced steel ones that were snapped in half, DeGraw said. “The winds were that strong.”
Both the Yuma Police Department and the Yuma County Sheriff’s Office received few reports of damage. Both said there were no injuries related to the storm itself.
“There was just a lot of wind and sand, and usually those things will rattle garage doors and other doors and make the alarms go off,” said YPD Sgt. Lori Franklin. “That’s usually our biggest (challenge) is going out to all the alarm calls.”
Out in Citrus City, an unincorporated neighborhood near Tacna, resident Ruben Conde said that he was unaware of any serious damage or losses in his area, though he noted “the storm and the haboob that preceded it (were) certainly dramatic.”
Wellton-area resident Kurt Harrison said that he lost his shed to Monday night’s storm, and Tuesday’s winds rattled his front windows off their tracks, allowing dust to blow into the house. Conde and Harrison both reported that power was out for a few hours.
DeGraw said a small number of residents from County 13th to County 14th streets and Avenues G to F remained without power into early Tuesday afternoon, but service was restored by sundown.
RANDY SMITH, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF SADDLES OF JOY, 2749 W. County 14th St., uses a small chainsaw Tuesday morning to start removing a 60-foot tree that was blown over during Monday night’s storm. Smith said he is hoping to get some help removing the tree, “because this is not what we are equipped to do.”
LEO FLORES GETS BUSY EARLY TUESDAY MORNING cutting up branches that were blown off one of the mesquite trees in the front yard of home in the 2000 block of 6th Avenue during Monday night’s storm. The storm was the second in as many days to blow through the Yuma area.