Residents in Gilbert reeling from damage caused by back-to-back monsoon storms

Monsoon storms swept through the Valley on Friday night, taking down trees, trampolines, and causing all kinds of damage to property.

Fast forward to Sunday morning, and people discovered that many of the trees that survived the first storm couldn't hold on for the second.

After landscapers cut up downed trees from the Friday night storm, and homeowners cleared out the brush, Saturday night winds toppled more trees into the pile.

Downtown Gilbert during a July 10 monsoon. Photo by James Keeling

Downtown Gilbert during a July 10 monsoon. Photo by James Keeling

"It shook my whole roof," said Gilbert resident Marlo Wright. "It was scary."

Winds approaching 60 miles per hour here snapped the trunks and even bent metal lattices. Construction site chain link fences were no match.

"The uprooting - that’s what’s so devastating," Marlo said. "They grow for so long and then they snap like a toothpick."

One Palo Verde tree snapped off from the severe weather. The winds then lifted it up and dropped the trunk about six feet away from where it once stood.

The National Weather Service says the storm produced more than 110,000 lighting strikes, knocking out power to thousands.

"It was non-stop, I was almost afraid to be outside, said resident Gene Panariello. "I could not see 5 feet in front of me. That’s how crazy it was."

In some areas, rain barely fell. In others, it came down in buckets.

"It sad to see all the trees, all the destruction, it’s sad," said resident Victoria Jacques.

Victoria and Marlo went on another morning jog Sunday to see what was left behind, taking photos next to 30-foot trees. They said the hardware store lines were long Saturday morning after the first monsoon.

"All these guys were there buying saws, tools to cut up the branches, all the tools to clean up," Jacques said. "So they’re getting their money’s worth today."

Two mornings of cutting and cleaning in the excessive heat. Everyone is here hoping there isn’t a third.

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Preparing for a severe thunderstorm 

The American Red Cross' tips for preparing for a severe thunderstorm:

  • Put together an emergency kit.
  • Know your community’s evacuation plan.
  • Create a household disaster plan and practice it.
  • Purchase a battery-powered or hand-crank radio
  • Discuss thunderstorm safety with members of your household. Be aware that a thunderstorm could produce flooding.
  • Pick a safe place in your home for household members to gather during a thunderstorm. This should be a place where there are no windows, skylights, or glass doors, which could be broken by strong winds or hail and cause damage or injury.

Be prepared and stay safe during the monsoon

"Most Valley residents know how quickly and furiously storms can move in and out, bringing strong winds, dust, rain, and flash flooding. These storms can cause interruptions in services, such as water, power, and gas," stated Captain Ashley Losch of the Glendale Fire Department.

GFD reminds residents of ways they can be prepared and stay safe:

  • Have flashlights with extra batteries on hand.
  • Have food that can be prepared without the need for cooking or refrigeration.
  • Have at least one gallon of clean water for each person in the household.
  • Have backup power for anyone requiring power for a medical device.
  • Have backup power for cell phones that do not require charging.
  • Have a first aid kit ready and accessible.
  • Never drive into areas with flowing water; it takes less than 10 inches to wash a car away.
  • Avoid flooded areas, such as washes.
  • If waters are rising, seek higher ground.
  • Do not approach downed power lines, the ground can be energized for up to 200 feet.
  • Keep pets indoors during storms.

Continued Coverage

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