Monsoon 2023: Storms move through the East Valley | Aug. 21

Parts of the East Valley, like Apache Junction, saw heavy rain and strong winds as a monsoon rolled through Monday night.

Because of the cloudy and stormy start to the week, the high at Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix only reached a high of 91.

"This is 14 degrees below normal for the date and the coolest high temperature since May 11th," the National Weather Service (NWS) in Phoenix said.

Severe Thunderstorm Warnings were issued for parts of the East Valley, but they've since expired.

"A potent thunderstorm capable of producing damaging winds up to 60 mph and dangerous lightning is moving towards Apache Junction and portions of East Mesa within the next 15–30 minutes. Please seek shelter," NWS said on X at 5:43 p.m.

At Apache Junction's city hall building, trees were knocked over due to the high winds.

By 7:45 p.m., the storm was moving over I-10 near Chandler Boulevard. It appears to be moving southeast to northwest.

The National Weather Service posted "We are seeing a cluster of storms approaching the Phoenix area. Lightning activity, gusty winds, and brief heavy downpours are likely with this activity. Another cluster of storms north of Tucson will likely impact Phoenix soon after," at 7:52 p.m.

This storm is ending as another kicked up and is moving through Pinal County – around Casa Grande and up to just East of Apache Junction. That round was not stormy as much as soggy.

The monsoon's aftermath

"When it first hit, it just all came with a bang all of a sudden. But then it didn’t last long, but we got over a half inch in just a short time," said Karen Parsley, an Apache Junction resident.

She has lived in the area for more than 40 years and said she had to get pictures of the giant eucalyptus trees that toppled over to show her son.

"He lives by the airport. He said the airport never gets anything, never gets any rain, and he’s always so mad because we get all the rain. I thought I’d just rub it in a little and show him the pictures," she said.

The downpour drenched yards as roads were spared from floodwaters.

The winds, however, showed no mercy on Parsley's eucalyptus trees. The six-foot-long roots on the trees are now exposed.

City officials say these trees had been standing for decades, longer than the city hall building.

"It’s definitely more than 20. I don’t know exactly, but it’s been here longer than our police department, so yes, an older tree," said Apache Junction Police Lt. Thomas Parker.

While it’s going to take a lot of time and work to clean up this monsoon, the storm was not one for the books.

"No, not one of the worst," Parsley said. "We’ve had worse."


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