March 4, 2024

By Mason Carroll

Star Valley east of Payson was hit by a rare Arizona tornado on Sunday morning. National Weather Service Flagstaff reported that the tornado caused damage to about 20 houses, but no injuries were reported.

Residents of Quail hollow Drive experienced 105-miles-per-hour wind around 9:30 on Sunday morning. Flagpoles and stop sign were torn from the ground. Roof damage, broken branches and roofs are some of the problems that others have to deal with.

Carolyn Bennett, her husband and their children clung to each other for 10 minutes as a rare F1 Tornado ripped through the neighborhood. Bennett explained, “The noise was so strange, it was like a mixture of broken glass and twisted metal. It was also a swoosh sound. I think my front window was broken.” You’re not sure what is going on. We thought that something had landed inside our home.

The winds were so powerful that some trees, such as the tree next to Bennett’s house, were uprooted. Bennett said, “It was like another world when we went outside. The road was closed; it was impossible to drive down.”

Tornado lasted only 10 minutes. It started one mile south of Sun Valley and ended a bit over half-a-mile southeast of the town.

Tony Merriman of the NWS Flagstaff Warning Coordination Weather Meteorologist and residents in this neighbourhood both said that tornadoes are rare in this region, particularly in town. It lasted only a few moments, as is typical of rare wind events. Merriman explained that “we’ll see these smaller storms and these tornado tracks won’t last long. Maybe a few minutes, if not less, but that was what we witnessed in Star Valley. Just enough damage was done to cause F1-level damage.

Residents of the affected neighborhood have said that volunteers and crews from the city are working hard to clean up. Davis stated that “we’ve had so much help from volunteers.” “All these volunteers down here chilling the trees, doing stuff like this, are Tree Crafters. They’re not earning a cent from it.”

Davis stated that while nobody expected a tornado to hit their backyard, the organization will make sure to provide everyone with what they need for recovery. That’s right. “We’re gonna get through it and try to help them in any way we can.”

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