Storm downs trees, football facility

Storm (08-29-08)
Fallen palm trees lay just feet away from University Drive in front of Manzanita Hall late Thursday evening. Tempe residence halls sustained shattered windows and flooded rooms. (Kaitlin Ochenrider/The State Press)
Published On:
Friday, August 29, 2008
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Slideshow: Storm Damage

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A powerful storm swept through the Valley on Thursday night, downing trees as well as a new ASU structure, and temporarily displacing on-campus residents.

The $8.4 million football practice facility near Rural Road and University Drive collapsed during the storm. Police on the scene were unsure if the storm’s heavy winds or a power outage caused the collapse.

ASU officials did not return calls seeking information on whether other campus buildings had been damaged, but flooding and other damage was reported at Tempe campus residence halls.

Almost half an inch of rain was reported at Sky Harbor Airport, where wind gusts reached 75 mph Thursday night, according to the National Weather Service.

Palo Verde East residents were moved to a student lounge to avoid hazards from heavy wind, rain and hail, and residents of that hall and neighboring Palo Verde Main said windows shattered during the storm.

“One of the glass windows shattered right next to me and it was really scary,” said Caitlin Wilkinson, a kinesiology freshman and Palo Verde Main resident.

Palo Verde Beach, the central area between the halls, was flooded, as were other outdoor areas.

The Student Recreation Complex fields were saturated with more than three inches of standing water spilling across Palm Walk.

Water was ankle-deep down McAllister Avenue, pooling on Apache Boulevard near Hassayampa Academic Village.

Alexis Sparks, a business communications freshman, said the ceiling was leaking on the fourth floor of the F-wing of the complex.

“It’s about a five foot by five foot area,” she said. “It has been leaking for hours.”

Across Apache Boulevard, new apartment complex Vista Del Sol experienced storm damage as well.

About four inches of standing water flooded the south end of the complex, and all buildings lost power for about 20 minutes around 9:45 p.m.

Students on the ground floors of several buildings experienced flooding in their apartments.

“There is water underneath our floor, the wood paneling is peeling back, and it’s spreading about six feet in,” said Tyler Marsh, a Spanish freshman. “This is a ton of water.”

Brantley Gallimore, a construction sophomore, endured a flooded apartment for the second time this week.

“On Tuesday we woke up to water that had leaked under the door during the night,” he said. “Tonight [Thursday night] it’s much worse. We’ve used every towel we have and there is still so much water. It’s coming more than 10 feet into the room.”

Two Sun Card entry doors shattered in the complex shattered; it is unclear whether this happened as a result of the storm.

Aram Akhavan, an electrical engineering junior, cut his foot on glass from one of the broken doors.

“It bled a lot,” he said, displaying his bandaged wound, “You should see [the blood near] the outside of my door.”