Storms tip planes at Williams Gateway - East Valley Tribune: News

Storms tip planes at Williams Gateway

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Posted: Monday, August 21, 2006 9:57 pm | Updated: 2:23 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

More rain soaked the Valley on Tuesday morning, one day after storms flooded streets, tipped over airplanes at Williams Gateway Airport and knocked out power to thousands of residents.

About 1,000 Salt River Project customers remained without power Tuesday in the East Valley, and SRP spokesman Jeff Lane said some houses will be without electricity until Wednesday.

Lane said at least 20 crews were in the field trying to rig up temporary powerline offshoots until the snapped subtransmission poles can be rebuilt over the next few days. He said 23 poles were down along Brown Road between Crismon and Signal Buttle roads in east Mesa, and 15 poles were down along University Drive near 86th Street.

"Our priority is to get everyone back with power as quickly as possible," Lane said.

SRP started distributing free ice 10:30 p.m. Monday at University and Power roads in east Mesa, and Lane said that will continue for as long as customers remain without power. He said SRP was no longer handing out ice in Chandler, where customers have their power back.

Some of the heaviest rainfall Monday came in east Mesa near Williams Gateway Airport. Airport officials said three aircraft were damaged as a result of strong winds.

A single-engine Piper airplane broke free from its moorings when a tree fell on the lines. The airplane was blown into a twin-engine Piper airplane, damaging both aircraft. Another single-engine Piper airplane was also damaged when the wind carried it into a fence.

Williams Gateway spokesman Brian Sexton said the storm knocked down several trees and left the roads that run through the airport strewn with debris.

"There's a lot of vegetation," Sexton said. "But they look pretty good."

Jay Patterson, who lives near Sossoman and Guadalupe roads in east Mesa, said lightning hit a palm tree in his backyard Monday while he was dropping off a friend at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.

"It scared my neighbor half out of his wits," Patterson said.

Additional rain could hit the Valley on Tuesday night or Wednesday.

National Weather Service meteorologist Peter Rogers estimated a 20 percent chance of overnight rain. But he said the storm weakened significantly Tuesday morning as it moved to the northwest.

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