Powerful winds pummel parts of Southern Arizona

2013-07-16T00:00:00Z Powerful winds pummel parts of Southern ArizonaArizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
July 16, 2013 12:00 am  • 

South of Tucson in Green Valley, intense winds toppled trees, sending one into a quadplex and briefly severing a gas line.

In Rita Ranch on Tucson's far southeast side, heavy winds not only knocked down trees but also sent residents chasing after runaway grills and a trampoline.

And on Tucson's northwest side in the Avra Valley, power poles came down in one of the several storms that hit the metro area Monday afternoon and evening.

Green Valley

When the winds knocked a tall eucalyptus into a single-story quadplex apartment in The Villas, in the 260 block of South Paseo Sarta, there were people at home inside. Fortunately, no one was injured, said Battalion Chief Tom Louis of the Green Valley Fire Department.

The tree also severed a gas line, which apparently was on the roof of the structure, but Southwest Gas crews were able to turn the leak off at the meter, he said.

The building was deemed unsafe to occupy due to severe roof and water damage, Louis said. Three residents were displaced and will be staying at another of their local properties.

Louis said the storms, which hit during the 4 to 5 p.m. hour, also felled other trees in the neighborhood, southwest of Esperanza and La Cañada.

There were also reports of heavy rain in Green Valley.

Rita Ranch

Severe weather in the Rita Ranch area also tore down trees, residents reported on social media.

"My husband caught our bbq just before it went into the pool," Courtney Brown Ragan posted on the Star's Facebook page.

Vickie Jones said trees were down on Nexus Road, and and @JeanSumption tweeted that trees were also uprooted on Carbury Way "Trampoline flew over two houses," the tweet added.

Avra Valley

About 2,000 Trico customers were without power in the Avra Valley starting about 6:20 p.m., a utility spokeswoman said. There were about 15 power poles down in the area, said Patrick Calhoun, spokesman for the Avra Valley Fire District.

In the city, Tucson Electric Power Co. said it had 1,800 customers, 1,500 of them on the northwest side, without power.

How strong?

Based on photos posted online by local media, National Weather Service meteorologist Glenn Lader estimated that parts of the Tucson area may have seen 60 to 70 mph maximum winds in Monday's storms, "or possibly stronger" in the Avra Valley.

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