The first big storm of the 2018 monsoon did not have a huge effect on the Phoenix area, but it pummeled the Buckeye area in a big way.
The proof is in the pictures.
Shana McNamara Cardenas on Monday sent us some stunning photos from Arlington (about 20 minutes from Buckeye) showing the aftermath of the storm that swept through on Sunday, July 8, 2018 – massive SRP towers bent practically in half.
“It’s unprecedented for 100 to 150 foot (sic) towers like this to go down and those particular 500kV transmission towers had recently been inspected,” SRP spokeswoman Kathleen Mascareñas explained in an email response to our inquiries. “The towers are designed to withstand extreme wind or extreme weather conditions. SRP builds them beyond code requirements to withstand a max sustained wind in the 90-100 mph range.”
The National Weather Service confirmed a downburst near Interstate 10 and Watson Road.
“Downburst is the general term for all localized strong wind events that are caused by a strong downdraft within a thunderstorm …,” according to The National Severe Storms Laboratory. “Wind speeds can reach up to 100 mph and can produce a damage path extending for hundreds of miles.”
Looking at a straight line from I-10 and Watson Road to Arlington, that's about 14.5 miles.
The wind speeds produced by downbursts can be comparable to weak tornadoes. The difference is there is no vertical rotation. With a tornado, wind sucks air and debris into a funnel. With a downburst, straight-line winds push out and away.
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“Seeing these pictures from your viewer is a great reminder for folks to STAY AWAY from downed power lines,” Mascareñas said. “We urge folks to stay at least 100 feet away from downed lines, as electricity can travel through the ground.”
The towers in Cardenas’ photos are part of the Palo Verde transmission system, according to Mascareñas.
She said Palo Verde operations should not be impacted, nor should SRP customers be affected thanks to redundancies built into the system.
[ONLINE RESOURCE: SRP Outage Center]
“SRP will use interim measures to get the lines back in service and make permanent replacements in the fall,” Mascareñas said.
She also said the lines should be back in service in about a week.
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