Editor’s Note: This post comes from DELEP Program Director and Curator Matt Johnson who lives in the northeast part of Tucson. The University of Arizona (UA) farm is located on Campbell Ave. near the Rillito River. The DELEP offices are located on Allen Rd. about a block east of Campbell Ave. in the Arizona Crop Improvement Association (ACIA) building.
The monsoon started at my house this past Saturday with 0.53″ of rain over an hour from a beautiful thundershower. A few close lightning strikes but no violent winds. The rain was spread out over an hour so all of it soaked in. This ties with 1984 for the second earliest start to the monsoon (my definition = 0.50″ of rain in three consecutive days) in the past 33 years at my house.
In contrast, the UA farm was hit by a microburst from a thunderstorm Sunday afternoon that had winds of at least 80 or 90 mph based on the damage. The DELEP shade house was flattened. The steel bows that form the structure tore out of the base–the steel actually tore! Amazingly, the greenhouses on either side (with inflated roofs and paneled sides) were unscathed.
There was no damage to the ACIA Bldg. where our offices are located, but a large mesquite limb missed crushing the compressor unit for the walk-in seed storage freezer by inches. There was a ca. 6′ tall jojoba that had been growing in the yard of the house to the east of the ACIA Bldg. that is now about 100 feet away beneath the mesquite at the entrance to the ACIA Bldg. parking lot. The wind literally tore it out of the ground and turned it into a tumble-jojoba! We lost a few trees in our fields with major limbs blown out of others. S
There was some roof damage and lots of downed trees in this part of town, including a large Eucalyptus camauldulensis that fell on a building along River Road, and several olive trees that were blown right out of the ground down the street from our office.