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Phoenix Battered By Hurricane-Force Winds

Hurricane-force winds hit Phoenix area

Tens of thousands lose power, new university athletic facility loses roof

 

The Associated Press, Aug. 29, 2008

 

PHOENIX - A series of fast-moving thunderstorms packing winds of up to 100 mph plowed through the Phoenix area, leaving tens of thousands without power, briefly shutting down the airport and ripping the roof off a brand-new college football facility.

 

There were no immediate reports of injuries from Thursday's storms.

Arizona Public Service Company said Friday morning it still had 32,000 customers without electricity, while Salt River Project estimated 11,000 of its customers were without power. At the height of the storm, about 100,000 homes and businesses without power.

 

Power for many downtown traffic signals was still out as the morning rush began, and some traffic delays were reported.

 

The storm swept into the city at about 9 p.m., dumping up to a 1 1/2 inches of rain and three-quarter-inch hail in some areas.

 

Sky Harbor International Airport was shut down for about an hour during the height of the storm, which blew out of the area by about midnight. Flight delays continued early Friday as crews worked to remove debris blown onto the runways.

 

National Weather Service meteorologist Leslie Wanek said Sky Harbor recorded peak winds of 75 mph, but radar indicated gusts of up to 100 mph in parts of the metro area.

 

In Tempe, Arizona State University officials said the storm damaged the school's new $8.4 million indoor practice facility that's mostly used for football.

 

A witness said the fabric roof on the structure was shredded and the bubble dome had completely deflated.

 

The 103,500-square-foot facility was completed this month.

 

Hundreds of trees in central and uptown Phoenix were downed, and a large section of roofing from a new condominium complex was torn off and thrown hundreds of feet, landing on the lines powering the city's soon-to-open light rail line.

 

Windows were blown out of at least one high-rise building downtown.

 

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

 

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26456759/