Power mostly restored to Buckeye after monsoon storm wreaks havoc

Sunday evening, a monsoon storm shut off power to about 21,000 APS customers in Arizona, including 14,000 in Buckeye. By midmorning Monday, power had been restored to all but 500 of them. (Photo by Nick Serpa/Cronkite News)

Downed power lines are extremely dangerous. APS advises the public to keep at least 100 feet away and call 911. (Photo by Nick Serpa/Cronkite News)

This stop sign was no match for Sunday’s monsoon storm, which knocked out electricity for thousands of residents in Buckeye. (Photo by Nick Serpa/Cronkite News)

BUCKEYE – A handful of residents remained without power almost 18 hours after a violent monsoon storm swept through the West Valley on Sunday evening.

Winds reaching 60 mph brought down a number of APS power lines and other electrical infrastructure around metro Phoenix, temporarily shutting off power to about 21,000 Arizonans, including 14,000 people in Buckeye.

It was the first major monsoon storm of 2018.

City officials said the winds also brought down trees along several major roads, resulting in street closures late Sunday night.

“There’s been spotty damage all over the place,” said Annie De Chance, communications manager for Buckeye. “Our police and fire got a significant increase in phone calls starting right around when the storm hit.”

The storm temporarily knocked out Buckeye Police Department’s main phone line, although 911 lines were not affected.

News footage taken after the storm moved on showed several overturned mobile homes; De Chance said there were no reports of injuries.

APS crews working through the night restored service to all but 500 customers by 10:30 a.m., but a few areas remained without electricity.

Jason Adams, an APS lineman (right), details the damaged power lines to APS employees Sue Kidd (left) and Cindy Smith. (Photo by Nick Serpa/Cronkite News)

Jason Adams, an APS lineman, said the company couldn’t guarantee when power would be restored to everyone, but the company is hoping for 10:30 p.m.

“We’re working as quickly and safely as possible, and we just ask for everybody’s patience and understanding,” he said. “Everyone out here is pulling to get the job done.”

The American Red Cross on Monday morning set up a temporary cooling station inside the Coyote branch of the Buckeye Public Library on Yuma Road. It provided air-conditioning, water and snacks, as well as internet access, regardless of whether visitors were library members.

Just outside of the cooling station, APS handed out free bags of dry ice to people who needed to cool down their home or keep food from perishing.

Dawn Delaney, a Red Cross volunteer, said the station saw more than a dozen visitors within a few hours of opening.

“No power means no AC,” she said.

Lindsay Mathieson of the American Red Cross said, “We will be here until the power has been restored.”

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