Friday, October 8, 2010

Severe Weather - Arizona Style

First off, wow! What a crazy few days it has been here in Arizona. If I had known better, I would think I was in Nebraska or Kansas, not Arizona with this type of weather we've had. I was lucky enough to work all day Tuesday in Phoenix in the heart of it all, and what a long day it was. Phoenix got hit real hard Tuesday, widespread and all over, and Northern Arizona near Flagstaff got hit Wednesday with more severe weather. Talking to the people who have lived and worked here, they have said a storm like this hasn't happened since at least early 1980's, and they can't ever remember this many Tornado warnings, let alone tornadoes, happening ever. Flagstaff issued 28 tornado warnings on Wednesday, with 4 confirmed tornadoes at this time and 7 injuries. Phoenix had tennis ball and golf ball size hail on Tuesday, tying for the 10th largest ever reported in Arizona, with 4.50 inches being the largest ever reported back in 1995.

I helped take over 9 pages of storm reports on Tuesday and those were the ones that could get through the busy line and through local HAM radio; no one can ever recall that line being busy. My normal work day turned into a 15+ hour day! TV stations were covering most of the weather pretty well, with one reporter out in the action (like that guy from The Weather Channel who goes and stands out in the hurricanes?!) getting pelted by hail and covering the floods.

Early in the day SPC put out a Slight risk and a mesoscale discussion for Arizona. While at work, we talked directly to the lead forecaster at SPC, this was all too real and felt like we were really in for it, and this was all at 8:30 in the morning!

Some of the notable reports were 6 foot deep water under an underpass in North Phoenix, power poles and power lines came down on hwy I-17 and closed the hwy for more than 3 hours and backed up traffic (approx) 35-45 miles, multiple reports of wall clouds, shelf clouds and funnel clouds but no confirmed tornadoes in Phoenix on Tuesday, from our office window (facing Southwest towards the airport) we could see a very well defined shelf cloud, largest hail reported was 2.50 inches or tennis ball size, so many large trees damaged and brought down.

Here is a link of a slide show from AZ Central with some pictures from the storm. The storms moved all across the valley, it wasn't localized. These storms were moving very fast, over 40mph!

And here is a link from AZ Central of pictures from the storm damage by the Tornadoes up in Flagstaff on Wednesday.

NWS Flagstaff put this Weather Story out

And video video of the Bellmont (near Flagstaff by a few miles) tornado. You can see power lines coming down, near the ground as they "flare" or "Spark" when they hit the ground.

There are other videos on AZ Central that you can look through, one has a great shot of hail coming down in a pool in a backyard, so crazy!

Also, Flagstaff National Weather Service has a preliminary report out documenting all of the damage and tornadoes, updating regularly. The latest I read was that there were 5 confirmed tornadoes, but they are still surveying. My friend Chris that works there has gotten to go out on the surveys, so jealous! Flagstaff's Preliminary Storm Reports

Just thought I'd share some exciting weather news from Arizona!

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