Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Severe Storms In Central And Northern Arizona

Yesterday's outbreak of severe thunderstorms across portions of Arizona appears to have been the largest and most severe to occur in a number of years. The top image shows the SPC plot of severe storm reports for 5 October. There were 22 separate reports listed in Arizona with 8 reports of large hail and 8 reports of damaging winds within Maricopa County. The middle image shows an uncredited photo from the web of one of the thunderstorms moving across portions of Phoenix. Bottom image is the Phoenix Rainfall Index for 5 October. Note that there were a large number of reports of amounts greater than an inch. Yesterday's PRI for a single day indicates that about 50% as much rainfall occurred yesterday as fell during the entire period from June 15th through September 30th for the greater Phoenix area!
Intense thunderstorms continued this early morning in north-central Arizona with reports of tornadoes near the Flagstaff NWS Office which is actually located west of Flagstaff at Belmont, Arizona. The unusual early morning tornadoes resulted in a number of injuries, turned over trucks on I-40, and derailed a train, apparently on the Santa Fe railroad line (now BNSF).
Melissa Wagner of ASU reports the following about yesterday's storms -
My first hand damage accounts:

Golfball size hail in the NW valley; some houses near Glendale Public
Library were shattered from incoming hail. A friend in the region
described the hail as ice cube tray size.

At Flood Control District near the infamous Tent Cities:

Golfball size hail AND larger caused structural damage to seven cars
(meaning busted windows, broken mirrors and tail lights). Many if not
all the remaining cars in the lot had just the typical dents.
One guy (who recently purchased a new minivan) had the back and rear
windows busted out. Hail completely filled the backseats.
My husband's car had damage to side mirrors and the typical dents.

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