Many without power, parts of I-17 reopen after dust storm slams Phoenix area
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Many people are still without power after damage was reported all over the Valley as a dust storm moved from the west into parts of the Phoenix area on Monday afternoon. Arizona Department of Transportation officials say I-17 southbound is closed at Dunlap and Peoria avenues as a precaution after strong winds hit the Valley Metro’s light rail bridge project near the freeway. Northbound I-17 reopened at Dunlap just before 10 p.m., but officials didn’t say when southbound would open. Arizona’s Family meterologists report wind gusts were over 50 miles per hour in the area.
APS reports around 1,000 customers are without power in the Phoenix area. For SRP, around 200 customers don’t have power. At the height of the storm, over 80,000 people reported outages. If you are looking to catch a flight out of Phoenix Sky Harbor, check your flight status here for any delays or cancelations. Earlier, over 100 flights were delayed and 25 were canceled for travelers.
Strong, gusty wind hit the Valley, including Paradise Valley, Tempe, Mesa, south Phoenix and Avondale. Deer Valley residents saw wind gusts up to 62 miles per hour just around 4 p.m. Meanwhile, other West Valley cities like Surprise, Peoria and El Mirage saw wind around 30-35 miles per hour.
Downed power lines sparked roughly seven fires around the Phoenix area. A fire was reported near 25th Avenue and Turney Lane. Firefighters say a power line set a brush on fire, spreading to a shed and van. Neighbors jumped into action, trying to get as much water on the fire as they could before the fire spread to nearby homes. Firefighters quickly evacuated everyone out of the neighborhood.
“We came up there was a brush fire. So I saw somebody’s house, they had a water hose. I just took it and turned it on and we tried to put the brush fire aspect of it out. Until the van over to the right just exploded, just boom and a big cloud of black smoke and I knew it was just time to go,” one man said.
Marvin Blythewood, another neighbor, says his son was able to get him out of the house. Among those rescued was Dorthy Lansing’s elderly mother. “I had to evacuate mom, she’s 98 years old, getting her out to the street was first. The fire trucks just kept coming, there were about eight of them out there. The supervisors and the paramedics, it was just a wonderful response,” said Lansing.
In addition, firefighters say reports came in of sparking power lines and dark smoke coming out of a home near 24th Avenue and Indian School. Everyone inside the home evacuated as crews put out the fire. No one was hurt.
In addition to the fires around the Valley, the wind also caused damage. Construction barriers and trees were knocked over in downtown Phoenix, while some West Valley homes had roofs ripped off. A street sign fell near 7th Avenue and Indian School in downtown Phoenix, landing on top of an SUV. Luckily, no one inside the SUV was hurt. A palm tree also fell over on Fillmore Street, causing a road blockage for drivers.
In northern Arizona, Coconino County Sheriff’s Office deputies and the NWS confirmed an EF-1 tornado hit near Williams, causing damage to homes in the Junipine Estates community.
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