Saturday, July 5, 2014

First monsoon storm of season blocks Highway 95 -- with a building

The first monsoon storm of the season struck Quartzsite mid-afternoon, Saturday, July 5, leaving behind a cleanup nightmare, and dramatic memories for some passing through.

Shortly before 4:00 PM, strong northeast winds, accompanied by sheets of rain and a thunderstorm blew into QZ. A passing motorist, headed south on Highway 95, had just cleared the Main Street and Highway 95 intersection when a sheet of rain caught her by surprise. Amazed at the intensity – and sheer blinding power – she stopped on the highway, just a few hundred feet from the intersection.

At that moment, winds picked up a multi-bay open-sided metal awning structure from the grounds of La Mesa RV, just to the east of Highway 95. Grabbing the huge structure, the winds dropped it down over Highway 95 – and the top of the unfortunate motorist's SUV. Happily neither the driver, nor any of the three passengers in the rig with her, were injured, but to say they were startled would be a bit of understatement. The four took shelter at the nearby Shell Station, while authorities shut down Highway 95 and scratched their heads, trying to figure out how to clear the scene and get traffic moving again.

The storm brought other minor disruptions to the area; flooded streets – and a bit of water flooding into the main branch post office lobby were noted, but nothing quite as spectacular as the aftermath of La Mesa's runaway awning.

All photos: R&T De Maris