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Severe thunderstorms in Arizona knock out power to tens of thousands with high winds, heavy rains and dust storm warnings

By Aya Elamroussi and Rob Shackelford, CNN

(CNN) — Severe thunderstorms bombarded the Phoenix area Thursday night, knocking out power for more than 30,000 homes and businesses in Arizona while threatening flash flooding and dust storm conditions.

The northwestern portion of Maricopa County – home to the state’s most populous city of Phoenix – was under a dust storm warning late Thursday. The Phoenix area is also under severe thunderstorm warnings.

“Thunderstorm activity has dispersed over much of Maricopa County. Additional development remains possible at this time,” the National Weather Service in Phoenix said in a social media post late Thursday.

The storms led to the delay of the second half of the Sun Devil Football game at Mountain America Stadium in Tempe, Arizona, the team said on social media.

“Lightning strikes continue within 8 miles. Currently at least 45 minutes before we can get players on the field or allow fans back in the stands,” the team posted on social media Thursday evening.

But it wasn’t until about two hours later when the team said players were warming up and would resume the game shortly.

Videos on social media show dust spinning in the sky and causing an orange-tinted haze in the air.

Earlier, forecasters warned that strong thunderstorms would bring gusty winds, blowing dust, heavy rainfall and frequent lightning.

In addition to the dust storm conditions, a flash flood warning has also been issued for Maricopa County, where dangerous flooding is possible in cities, highways and streets.

Maricopa County accounted for more than 27,000 power outages, data showed early Friday morning.

Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix reported winds of 47 mph, with gusts up to 71 mph. Winds of this level can produce dense, blowing dust, which can plummet visibility down to as low as a quarter of a mile and create life-threatening travel conditions.

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CNN’s Amanda Jackson contributed to this report.

Article Topic Follows: cnn-weather/environment

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