Tornados smash windows, rip siding off homes in northern Arizona a harsh weather sweeps West

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Tornados smash windows in northern Arizona

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — Two tornadoes touched down in northern Arizona early Wednesday, smashing windows and ripping siding off of homes but causing no serious injuries or deaths.

The first hit Bellemont — west of Flagstaff — around 5:30 a.m. Wednesday and the second touched down east of the small community a short time later.

Coconino County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Gerry Blair said the number of people who suffered minor injuries was unknown.

Severe weather is expected to continue through Wednesday, and comes a day after storms swept across the western U.S., dropping record-setting rain in northern Nevada, pounding Phoenix with hail, and dumping enough snow at the top of the Sierra to close a mountain highway pass.

Rainy weather snarled freeways and caused power outages in Southern California, and the National Weather Service said a storm could dump up to inch of rain in some areas before tapering off Thursday.

A big-rig that jackknifed on a slick freeway Wednesday morning backed up traffic for miles through the Newhall Pass on Interstate 5, the main road between downtown Los Angeles and the bedroom communities of the Santa Clarita Valley. No injuries are reported.

Southern California Edison says rain shorted out an insulator, leaving 1,200 customers without power in Long Beach.

Two southern Utah teenagers were in critical condition at a Las Vegas hospital Wednesday after being struck by lightning outside their school a day earlier. Christopher Dane Zdunich and Alex Lambson, both 17, suffered burns and internal and external injuries when a bolt of lightning hit a tree they were standing under during a thunderstorm shortly before 3 p.m. Tuesday. They are students at Snow Canyon High School in Santa Clara, near St. George.

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