Recovery

Desert Storm Knocks Out Power

By Derrill Holly | ECT Staff Writer Published: August 20th, 2012

A severe thunderstorm that blew in from the desert ripped through part of the service territory of an Arizona electric cooperative, knocking out power to nearly 3,900 consumer-members.

A Mohave Electric Cooperative crew replaces one of 15 poles broken in an Aug. 9 thunderstorm. (Photo By: Mohave EC)

A Mohave Electric Cooperative crew replaces one of 15 poles broken in an Aug. 9 thunderstorm. (Photo By: Mohave EC)

The storm’s high winds were strong enough to break 15 poles, tearing down a portion of the Mohave Electric Cooperative’s distribution system, sending a tangle of power lines crashing down along a major thoroughfare, Aug 9.

“This was a thunderstorm with rain, lightning activity and severely high winds,” said Peggy Gillman, manager of public affairs and energy services for the Bullhead City-based co-op.

“We’ve heard reports that winds were gusting to 65 or 70 mph.”

By the time the winds subsided, power to residential and commercial accounts along one of the city’s major corridors was out. There were also scattered outages reported in other areas of the co-op’s 1,300 square-mile service territory.

“Many of the other outages occurred south of Bullhead City in the Mohave Valley area,” Gillman said. “In those cases, the outages were caused by wind-blown debris flying into the lines.”

The co-op dispatched line crews and restored service to about 3,700 meters within three hours, and the rest were back the next morning.

While Arizona is not known for tall trees, it is known for monsoonal weather activity and severe thunderstorms during the summer months.

Palm trees prop up a de-energized co-op distribution line after a severe thunderstorm. (Photo By: Mohave EC)

Palm trees prop up a de-energized co-op distribution line after a severe thunderstorm. (Photo By: Mohave EC)

The co-op lost 23 poles during a severe storm that hit its service territory, July 14. A microburst of high winds knocked out power to a 69-kilovolt sub-transmission line, affecting 6,634 meters in the Mohave Valley, Gillman said.

“Twenty-two wooden transmission poles and one concrete pole came down. We rerouted power to restore service and we’re in the process of making permanent repairs.”

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