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Wed., Oct. 6, 2010, 8:49 p.m.

Tornadoes pound parts of Arizona?

AP Picture after rare tornado cluster hits parts of AZ (Felicia Fonseca / Associated Press)
AP Picture after rare tornado cluster hits parts of AZ (Felicia Fonseca / Associated Press)

Good evening, Netizens...

There was bizarre weather afoot in Arizona today. Normally they have an average maximum of three or four tornadoes per year, but never before in their forecasting history have they seen clusters of tornadoes, perhaps as many as six or seven according to various news sources, in one day.

Belemont, Arizona, a sleepy suburban area west of Flagstaff, an early morning tornado hit town shortly after 5:30 AM and although no rating has been done yet some sources rate it as an F3 on the Fujita Scale. Most movies that tell you how to cope with prairie twisters tell you to move to the basement. As one of my clients stated mournfully, hardly anyone in the Flagstaff area have basements. Fortunately he wasn't directly impacted by the series of storms, although he did have a pile of hail on his porch.

Another storm hit south of Flagstaff minutes later, and a funnel blew trucks off Interstate 17 shortly after noon.

On Tuesday, storms ripped out trees and broke windows in metropolitan Phoenix, flooded roadways, shut airports and dented cars and shattered windows with hail bigger than golf balls in some places.

On Wednesday, semitrailers were sitting along the side of Interstate 40. High winds cast dozens of cars of a freight train off the tracks in Bellemont around 6:30 a.m. No one was injured and the cars did not contain any hazardous materials.

About 30 homes were so badly damaged that they were uninhabitable and the people who lived in them were evacuated, authorities said. A shelter was set up for them.

Sparsely populated Arizona typically has four tornadoes a year, but rarely if ever sees twisters come in clusters and cause the kind of damage seen Wednesday, meteorologists said.

Now the question that haunts me is is there a relationship between this meteorological anomaly in Arizona and La Nina? The folks in Arizona never have had such a series of severe storms in recent history. Do you care to speculate? Hurricane in Spokane perhaps? How about a good old-fashioned rock and roll type earthquake?


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Spokesman-Review readers blog about news and issues in Spokane written by Dave Laird.