Tag Archive | Arizona

Major Green ‘Fireball’ Lit the Sky Over California, Los Angeles, Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico

Flash Flood, Mudslide Close Northern Arizona Highway, USA; Rare Tornado Struck Too

Arizona Highway 89A north of Flagstaff closed by mudslide Aug. 9, 2015; PHOTO: AZ Department of Transportation
A storm system brought a tornado and hail to northern Arizona on Sunday, with flash flooding closing a portion of the U.S. 89A with mud and debris.
 
The Arizona Republic reported Monday that winds reached up to 70 mph Sunday afternoon about 30 miles north of Flagstaff. Meteorologist Mark Stubblefield said the tornado showed up on radar after 2 p.m. and was heading toward the 89A.
 
Transportation crews were working Monday to clear mud and boulders from the 24-mile section of highway between mileposts 531 and 555. ADOT spokeswoman Caroline Carpenter said it was unknown when the blocked portion of the highway will be reopened.
 
Stubblefield said tornadoes in Arizona are rare, but not unheard of.
Courtesy of news.azpm.org

Severe heatwave of min 110 degrees drags on in Arizona, USA

Record Heat Alert

Arizona is in the midst of a prolonged heat wave that has produced record-high temperatures in Phoenix, prompted dozens of daily calls to the Humane Society about overheated pets, and sparked triple-digit temperatures in typically cooler mountain locations.
 
Phoenix hit 115 degrees Thursday, tying the record high for that date set in 1989, as the city baked in what could be a record-setting run of heat.
Meteorologists predict another 115-degree day on Friday.
 
The city is on track for 10 straight days of temperatures at or above 110 degrees. That would tie the record for the longest stretch of 110 and higher, set in August 2012, said Dan Leins, meteorologist at the National Weather Service.
 
Phoenix tied a record Wednesday for the hottest June 17 of all time as it hit 114 degrees, matching the mark set in 1896 when weather records were first kept.
 
Other Arizona cities are broiling as well, with Yuma expected to see even higher temperatures than Phoenix.
 
There’s little escape from the heat. The temperature has been hovering above 100 degrees past 10 p.m., and even mountain cities such as Sedona and Flagstaff are experiencing the same heat wave. Sedona is forecast to have highs above 100 throughout the weekend.
 
The state Department of Health Services reports an average of 30 to 40 people die every year in Arizona from heat-related complications, and 1,400 suffer from heat-related illnesses. The elderly population is the most vulnerable.
 
Heat-related complications include dehydration, cramps, exhaustion and heat stroke.
 
“It’s not uncommon to see an increase in hospital visits because people are overexerting themselves,” Leins said.
 
Nicole Pena, the Phoenix Rescue Mission’s community relations director, said people living on the streets also are at risk because of the lingering heat at night.
 
“They can’t really avoid the heat,” Pena said.
 
The organization has been active in helping Phoenix’s homeless population cope through its Code Red program that provides shelter, water, food and clothes.
 
“It was so hot my body wasn’t used to the up and down,” said Andrew Wright, who is currently taking refuge at the Phoenix Rescue Mission. “Even water isn’t enough to kill the heat.”
 
People aren’t the only ones affected. The Humane Society has been on call to treat animals affected by the triple-digit temperatures.
 
Arizona Humane Society spokeswoman Bretta Nelson said animals are at higher risk of heat-related complication because their bodies are closer to the ground.
 
The humane society is receiving a minimum of 50 calls a day, and about a third are related to the weather, Nelson said. Animal heat complications can include exhaustion, burned paws, heat stroke and death.
Courtesy of aol.com

Enterovirus D68 targets a child in Arizona, USA

EV-D68 Virus Alert

Arizona public-health officials said Wednesday that lab tests have confirmed the state’s first case of a viral strain that triggers potentially severe respiratory illness in children.
 
State health officials said the child who tested positive for enterovirus D68 is now healthy, but provided no other details such as age, gender or where in Arizona the child lives.
 
Arizona Department of Health Services officials also would not comment on the status of pending tests for a Peoria first-grader and a Phoenix infant who both died after recent bouts with reported respiratory illness.
 
Enterovirus is a common virus with more than 100 strains that typically circulate during the summer and fall. But the D68 strain of the virus, tied to more severe respiratory illness, has been circulating nationwide since mid-August, with 941 confirmed cases.
 
Department of Health Services officials said that testing has been completed for 27 samples, and just one has been confirmed for the D68 strain.
 
Six samples have tested positive for rhinovirus, a common cold virus, and another six have tested positive for enterovirus and rhinovirus. Some less-precise tests administered at area hospitals do not distinguish between enterovirus and rhinovirus. Another 14 samples did not have either virus.
 
In addition, 17 other samples are pending at Arizona’s laboratory or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s labs, said Laura Oxley, spokeswoman for the Department of Health Services.
 
Arizona’s state lab does not have the sensitivity to test for the D68 strain, but Arizona is working to obtain that capability, Oxley said. Until then, only the CDC labs can confirm whether a sample has the D68 strain.
 
Five-month-old Lancen Kendall of Phoenix died Oct. 10 after becoming severely sick with a respiratory illness. His family set him down for a nap and soon noticed he wasn’t breathing. He was rushed by ambulance to Banner Thunderbird Medical Center in Glendale, where he died five days later, according to his family.
 
The hospital’s preliminary test showed that the boy had enterovirus and rhinovirus, which are both common-cold viruses. Lancen’s mother, Kathleen Kendall, said she was told by state health officials Wednesday evening that Lancen’s test has not been completed yet.
 
“They told us our test is still pending. We still don’t know whether it has been confirmed,” Kendall said.
 
Peoria first-grader John Lucas “Luke” Smith died last week after he became sick with respiratory illness. The day after school officials informed parents of the boy’s death, 80 percent of children at Vistancia Elementary School did not show up for classes. No test results have been made public for Smith.
 
The CDC said that it began using a newer, faster test that will allow it to work more quickly through pending samples. The federal agency also said that it expects the number of cases will begin to decline by late fall, and it is assessing preliminary reports that the number of new infections is trending down.

Massive dust storm blankets Phoenix, USA

A wall of dust swallows up the Valley. (Source: Viewer-submitted)
A massive wall of dust coated everything in its path as it blasted through the Valley on Saturday evening, a prelude to more big weather changes in store as the new work week begins.
 
The Phoenix area was under a dust storm warning until 8 p.m. Saturday as the monsoon kicked in again.
 
Dust flew as winds were gusting between 25 to 40 mph.
 
A weather pattern that’s forming threatens to channel deep moisture associated with Hurricane Norbert into Arizona, CBS 5 meteorologists said Sunday.
 
Tropical moisture feeding into the state from the south will further enhance the pattern, possibly leading to thunderstorms in some parts of the CBS 5 viewing area before the weekend is out. 
 
The weakening hurricane is moving parallel to Mexico’s Baja California peninsula after pounding fishing villages and resorts. Authorities say more than a 1,000 homes have been damaged and hundreds of people forced to flee to higher ground.
 
Norbert grew to Category 3 status Saturday but by morning it had weakened to a Category 1 hurricane with winds of up to 75 mph. Though staying away from land, it’s passing near enough to the coast to drench fishing villages and resorts, and pound beaches.
 
The Baja California Sur state government reports that 500 people there had gone to shelters and health officials are taking steps to fight mosquitoes in stagnant water to prevent the spread of dengue. At least 2,000 people have been evacuated from Los Cabos, La Paz and Comondu.
 
“While we won’t see that storm even get close to Arizona, the weather pattern setting up will sweep the deep moisture associated with that storm into the southwestern U.S.,” CBS 5 Chief Meteorologist Chris Dunn said.
 
The best threat for storms along with heavy rain will occur Monday, especially across south central Arizona as the system starts to push inland over northern California, lifting ever  
greater amounts of moisture north and into Arizona.
 
“There is still some uncertainty in the exact amount of rain (some projections are less than .10″) but most of the computer forecast models I have analyzed and rely on show between 1 to 2 inches of rain possible with this setup through Monday, mainly focused on the late Sunday/Monday time frame,” Dunn said.
 
There was a 70 percent chance of rain Sunday night and Monday.
 
“The main threat after the storms start and the ground moistens up a bit will be the amount and intensity of rainfall that we can expect over the next day or two, at least through Monday, Dunn said.
 
Some rain could linger into Tuesday.
 
With our monsoon weather remaining active through the weekend and into next week, be sure to check in with us on-air, online and on your phone with the CBS 5 app for the latest weather updates and interactive radar.
 
Some Phoenix residents are wasting no time preparing for possible flooding.
 
A pair of south Phoenix families know what that’s like all too well. Every time it rains, even just a little, their homes flood. Jenny Nuñez said she’s put up with it for 10 years.
 
“We like it here. We’ve been here a long time,” Nuñez said. “It’s just too much.”
 
In just the last month, Nuñez and her neighbors off 19th Avenue and Broadway have mopped their homes clean of flood waters twice. Every time it starts to rain, she fears the flash flood.
 
“[The water comes in] I’d say in the matter of four to five minutes,” she said.
 
A monsoon storm last year blasted her neighbor’s home with heavy rains and 7 inches of flood water inside. Audrianna Rogers said she never knows what to expect with a rainy forecast but she has to be prepared for the worst. Rogers has cinder blocks stacked outside her front door.
 
“We’re going to put some more up and put sand around the door so it won’t come in,” Rogers said. “It’s hard. You just have to be strong.”
 
With sandbags on standby and a dry mop ready for use, Rogers and Nuñez are prepped for another round of rain and whatever flooding another storm will dish out.
 
Many other Arizona residents are still flood weary from soaking rains that inundated their neighborhoods last month.
 
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer has asked for federal help in assisting those whose homes and businesses were damaged in last month’s flooding in Maricopa County.   
 
The governor sent a disaster declaration request Wednesday to the Small Business Administration.
 
Maricopa County received rainfall on seven of eight consecutive days between Aug. 12 and 19. The storms produced flash flooding that impacted more than 350 homes.
 
Laveen received 3.97 inches of rain, while New River received 6.85 inches.
 
Officials found there was major damage to at least 41 homes and businesses and minor damage to an additional 61 homes and businesses.

Giant dust storm ‘haboob’ engulfs Phoenix, Arizona, USA

These stunning images show a huge dust cloud as it engulfs a major American city.
 
The towering storm hit Phoenix, Arizona, cutting power to thousands of homes, grounding flights and causing traffic chaos. 
 
Taken by photographer and storm chaser Mike Olbinski, 39, the pictures depict the sheer magnitude and power of the cloud.
A dust storm rolls over the city of Phoenix at sunset in Phoenix, Arizona.
It was the first intense dust storm – known as a haboob – of the region’s annual summer monsoon season, and led to all inbound and outbound flights at the city’s Sky Harbour International Airport being temporarily grounded.
 
Twenty four planes had to be diverted to alternative airports.
 
Lasting for up to four hours, winds as high as 50 mph knocked down trees and power lines, while lightning strikes were suspected to have started at least two fires in the city, which has a population of 1.4 million.
 
Such storms are not uncommon in the South Western United States, where monsoon rains stir up dust and sand, which have built up over the summer.
 
Major cities like Phoenix usually experience between one and three haboobs a year.

Wildfire causes 100’s to evacuate their homes in Arizona, USA

The fire began on Tuesday, May 20, and was likely caused by a person, according to the U.S. Forest Service.
As one of hundreds of evacuees in Arizona’s raging wildfire, Serena Chesmore valued family over home.
 
She ensured the safety of the most precious things in the world: her family and pets.
 
Her house in Kachina Village, after all, is replaceable, Chesmore said Friday.
“The kids, the pets, the photos — they can’t be replaced,” Chesmore said.
 
But Chesmore said she is hoping that firefighters will be able to save her house and 300 other homes and businesses from an Arizona forest fire roaring through park land. She made an early jump on a pre-evacuation notice given to about 3,200 residents in Coconino County.
A vehicle heads out of Kachina Village as the wildfire sends plumes of smoke into the air on May 21.
The online Incident Information System reported Friday night that much of the fire burned with lower intensity throughout the day, allowing firefighters to make some progress.
 
However, despite that progress, the total area scorched climbed to 8,500 acres, and the containment level held steady at 5%.
 
Weather conditions “will likely worsen” during the Memorial Day weekend, which could cause problems containing the fire, CNN meteorologist Matt Daniel said. He said temperatures are expected to warm up, humidity will decrease during the day, and winds are expected to go up.
Firefighters face rough conditions
A helicopter helps battle the Slide Fire over Sterling Canyon in Sedona, Arizona, on Thursday, May 22. Hundreds of firefighters are battling high winds and steep terrain to contain the blaze.
The equivalent of a battalion of 960 firefighters, including 15 hotshot crews and three air tankers, have been fighting the fire between Flagstaff and Sedona — a tourist and retirement destination famed for its red rock formations — since Tuesday afternoon.
 
Tony Sciacca, a fire incident commander, said it’s been an uphill battle for the firefighters battling the blaze.
 
“They’re engaged in tough terrain, cutting vegetation, applying fire to the landscape as they need to in burnout operations,” Sciacca said.
 
Area residents took to Facebook on Friday to thank firefighters.
 
“Thank you again for your tireless work on this monster,” Mavis Kimball posted to the Slide Fire Information Facebook page. “We who call this place home so appreciate you.”
 
“So thankful the best of the best are here on the Slide Fire,” wrote Terry Schneider.
 
Dust-dry pine needles, high winds and steep slopes have made for ideal conditions for the fire to spread rapidly, fire officials say. And it has.
 
The flames that investigators fear were ignited by human hands appear to have consumed hundreds of acres in a few hours’ time, according to officials.
 
The wind has blasted vigorously and erratically through fiery gulches, with gusts up to 30 mph, but has not blown towards the populated Flagstaff area.

Wildfire intensifies in Northern Arizona, USA

Wild Fire Alert

Hundreds of firefighters poured into Arizona on Wednesday to battle a wind-whipped wildfire burning in a rugged canyon between Sedona and Flagstaff, sending up choking plumes of smoke and scuttling Memorial Day weekend travel plans in the popular camping and hiking area.

The fire nearly doubled in size to 1.32 square miles and could grow by nightfall to 2,000 acres, or about 3 square miles.

Arizona authorities are fearful that the fire could be a prelude for what could become a devastating wildfire season amid a drought that has left tinder-dry conditions across the state.

The fire broke out at the start of the tourist season and closed the main road between Sedona and Flagstaff — two cities that attract large amounts of visitors in summer months. The fire is burning near Slide Rock State Park, a popular recreation area because of its natural rock water slides.

Sophie Lwin of Peoria says she had relatives from the Los Angeles area coming in for a weekend at the Butterfly Garden Inn, which had to evacuate because of the fire. She said the area is her favorite destination and that she and her husband visit the Sedona area at least five times a year.

“It’s Memorial Day weekend. It’s going to be so hard and so expensive to get anything anywhere else,” she said.

About 200 firefighters and other personnel are already assigned to the fire, including five Hotshot crews, Coconino National Forest officials said Wednesday. An additional 15 Hotshot crews are on order, as well as 10 other firefighting crews and dozens of fire engines, officials said. A top-level fire management team was taking over command of the fire.

There are no reports so far of injuries or structures burned. The exact cause of the fire is not yet known, but authorities believe it was human-caused.

The fire forced the evacuations of 100 threatened businesses and homes in a 2-mile stretch north of the state park, and 15 people stayed at a shelter in Flagstaff.

The fire comes less than a year after a blaze in nearby Prescott killed 19 firefighters who were part of a Hotshot crew.

As the fire moved up the canyon’s steep walls, it sent up large amounts of smoke and ash and created hazy conditions in Flagstaff, about 10 miles from the blaze.

The blaze presented several challenges for firefighters, including steep terrain, thick pine forest, gusting winds and the drought conditions, said Bill Morse, a Flagstaff Fire Department captain and a spokesman for firefighting managers. He also said the terrain makes it difficult for firefighters to stay in contact with each other on their radios.

But Morse said calming fire conditions in Southern California have freed up extra crews to fight the Arizona fire.

“Fortunately the fires in San Diego have calmed down enough for the resources to be released here,” Morse said.

The evacuees included Nathan and Mickella Westerfield, young honeymooners from Phoenix who arrived at a campground in the canyon Tuesday afternoon. They were headed into Sedona for dinner when they passed the fire, which was burning shrubs and trees in a small valley visible from the highway.

As other passers-by stopped to take pictures of the fire, a firefighter told the couple they couldn’t return to their campground to retrieve their newly purchased camping gear and other belongings, Nathan Westerfield said.

“He told us, ‘no, we’re evacuating,'” he said. “We literally have the clothes on our backs.”