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Monsoon lashes Phoenix, leaves 55,000 without power

Torrential rain and heavy winds inundated Phoenix on Monday night, stranding motorists, knocking down power lines, and temporarily halting flights.

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    Thunderstorms have brought wet and wild weather to Texas and Arizona with forecasters predicting more to come. Reuters' Jillian Kitchener reports.
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Monsoon storms hit the Phoenix area hard Monday night, leaving motorists stranded, knocking down power lines, and temporarily halting flights.

The storms hit the central Phoenix area around sundown and were felt for at least an hour. The monsoon brought heavy winds, torrential rain, and lightning. Rainfall reached “rates of 2 to 3 inches per hour… [and] rainfall totals through the Valley ranged from a little less than an inch to a little more than 1.25 inches,” according to KPHO, Phoenix’s CBS affiliate. WeatherBug recorded “a wind gust of 68 mph.”

Despite the severity of the weather, there were no immediate reports of deaths or serious injury. However, many were inconvenienced.

Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix was forced to halt takeoffs and landings for more than an hour. After the storm, damage to a terminal roof was noticed and some of the shuttle train operations had to be suspended.

On the roads, the flash flood left many motorists stranded on the road. Fire officials reported that more than 400 calls were received during and directly after the storm, many were calls from stranded or crashed cars.

The storm hit central Phoenix hardest, with winds disturbing power poles and lines. The Arizona Republic reported that as of 9 pm, the storms had caused “power outages for about 55,000 customers.” The city will be hard-pressed to restore power as quickly as possible.

Flash flood warnings remained in effect for some time after the monsoon passed. Most ended at midnight, but some were extended beyond that into early morning.

Despite the rain and wind and potential power outages, some Phoenix residents remain in good spirits. Jamie Holt, a pastor who accidentally left the windows of his car down, spoke to the Arizona Republic after the storm: “I just heard crazy rain. I love it. I’m glad that it’s finally raining.”

This report includes material from the Associated Press.

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