DOWNED WILMOT POLES CUT LIGHTS TO 2,500

Second big storm delivers more power line punches

2012-07-17T00:00:00Z 2013-09-11T17:14:30Z Second big storm delivers more power line punchesCarmen Duarte and Veronica M. Cruz Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

The Tucson area did not get a respite after Sunday's damaging storms, as a south-side thunderstorm Monday night downed power lines on South Wilmot Road near I-10.

Some 2,500 customers were without power because the new storm knocked down five to 10 power poles, said Joseph Barrios, a Tucson Electric Power Co. spokesman. Those customers were in addition to the 50 still without power late Monday due to Sunday's damage.

Crews were expected to work through the night to restore power, Barrios said.

Last night's storm developed near Tucson International Airport at about 7:30 p.m. with 35 mph gusts, said Chris Rasmussen, a Tucson meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

"What likely hit the I-10 and Wilmot area was a wet microburst, but not on the scale we had Sunday," Rasmussen said.

Radar indicated that 1 inch to 1.5 inches of rain fell on East Valencia Road near the airport, and 1 inch to 1.25 inches fell between Valencia and Wilmot roads, near where the power lines went down, he said.

Traffic may still be restricted this morning on South Wilmot Road south of I-10 to Hermans Road.

In Cochise County, six roads were closed in the Sierra Vista area due to the storm, and authorities were headed late Monday to Carr Canyon in the Huachuca Mountains to rescue a woman in a wash, said Carol Capas, a Cochise County sheriff's spokeswoman.

Throughout Tucson, much of Monday was spent cleaning debris and making repairs to power lines and buildings damaged by two storms that battered the city Sunday.

The area may dry out some during the next few days, although there is a 30 percent chance of thunderstorms today.

POWER OUTAGES

TEP crews spent Monday repairing 35 power poles knocked over or damaged by Sunday's storms. About 11,500 TEP customers in Tucson and 1,800 in Marana lost power Sunday, but that number was reduced to 50 by late Monday, said Barrios.

Several streets near Tucson Mall were closed for repairs on the downed poles.

The National Weather Service measured 60 mph winds at about 4:30 p.m. Sunday at Tucson International Airport, and from the damage around Tucson Mall, the winds were likely in excess of 60 mph, said Rasmussen .

"It appears a wet microburst hit the Tucson Mall location," Rasmussen said.

On the northwest side, 10 poles near West Tangerine and North Postvale roads had to be repaired. Near Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, in the area of South Wilmot Road and East Nicaragua Drive, another 12 poles were downed Sunday, Barrios said.

The Wilmot entrance to the base was closed Monday due to the downed lines.

CITY CLEANUP

More than 20 workers from the Tucson Transportation Department worked Monday to clear debris from roads and storm grates.

"The focus was to get the travel lanes cleared and accessible to the traveling public, bicyclists, motor vehicles," said Michael Graham, the city's spokesman.

Crews moved debris to medians or to the side of roadways, and today workers will focus on trimming tree limbs and putting the debris in trucks and hauling it away, he said.

Workers also cleaned numerous storm grates in preparation for more storms, Graham said.

RESCUES

Tucson firefighters performed two swift-water rescues around 5:30 p.m. Sunday.

In one, firefighters helped remove a mother and her child from a car that was filled with water a quarter of the way up the door near North First Avenue and East River Road, said Capt. Jeff Langejans, a Tucson Fire spokesman.

In the other, four people under the age of 20 had to be removed from an SUV in a flooded roadway in the 5700 block of South Oak Tree Drive in the Midvale Park subdivision on the southwest side, said Tucson Fire Capt. Barrett Baker.

Other local agencies received calls for rescues, but in most cases people either got out by themselves or were helped out by passers-by.

DAMAGE NEAR MALL

Workers at the Tucson Mall worked around the clock to make repairs to buildings and clean up the parking lot in the aftermath of Sunday's damage, said the mall's general manager, Jeff Berger.

The mall lost 75 percent of power Sunday shortly before closing time around 5:30 p.m.

The wind ripped off three sky-lights at the mall, causing some water damage in various areas, Berger said. Temporary covers were installed to prevent further damage.

Uprooted trees blocked three of the mall's entrances. About 40 to 50 trees on the mall property were knocked down, Berger said.

A temporary barricade in Forever 21, blocking customers from a construction area, was knocked down but replaced early Monday.

Some stores had water leaks that were being assessed.

The mall opened as scheduled Monday morning, he said.

"Fortunately, nobody is hurt. Everybody got out," Berger said.

North of the Tucson Mall, the roof collapsed at the JCPenney Home Furnishings Store, 4861 N. Stone Ave., causing water damage, said store manager Judy Riddell. The store is temporarily closed for repairs.

TUCSON FORECAST

A 30 percent chance of scattered thunderstorms is in the forecast for today, according to the weather service. Those odds fall to a 20 percent chance of isolated storms tonight.

However, most of today's storms will occur south and east of Tucson, the weather service said. By the weekend, Tucson's chance for rain is 30 percent on Saturday and Sunday.

Contact reporter Veronica M. Cruz at 573-4224 or vcruz@azstarnet.com or Carmen Duarte at 573-4104 or cduarte@azstarnet.com

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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