Editor’s Note: The following story was taken from RVing Quartzsite, a blog writeen by Russ and Tina De Maris from Quartzsite, Ariz, a popular winter destination for winter RVers and site of a major RV industry show each January.
An unprecedented winter storm smashed its way through Quartzsite Monday night (Dec. 7), leaving a mass of twisted metal – and for some – broken dreams.
While winds during the afternoon had been gusty, a little after 8 p.m., the strong wind took on a new vengeance as a storm cell moved into the area, bringing thunder, lightening, rain, hail, and high winds from the due south. While the rain did close a few low-lying roads, the real damage visited came from the terrific gusts. At this writing, official Weather Service figures are unavailable, but anecdotal evidence would suggest extremely strong gusts blew through.
A drive-through of the town and Long Term Visitor areas to the south of town seems to indicate the worst damages were sustained by vendors. Plenty of bent metal and blown away tarps met the eye this morning as folks worked to mop up damage. One winter vendor, a book sales operation near the main Post Office, lost their entire canopy, and the wind-blasted rain simply finished up her complete stock of books. She and friends were working to figure out how to carry off the damaged goods to the area landfill.
Some RVers who failed to furl their awnings prior to the storm found they had to work to cut themselves out of their rigs, when awnings crashed, blocking doors, and making for insurance claims. At the LaPosa South Long Term Visitor Area, where the popular Tuesday “Jam Sessions” are held, one of the regulars will have plenty to dig out from under. Regulars who found shade under his large “porch” area will find it no more–the winds bending its metal pole legs like clay.
Quartzsite may count itself fortunate: At one point television viewers in nearby Blythe, California were startled when their programing was interrupted by an Emergency Broadcast System message, posting a “tornado watch” for an area 10 miles west of Quartzsite. No word yet on weather a twister actually materialized.
Tuesday morning found Quartzsite cellular phone service spotty or down; this writing team couldn’t raise the Internet. It cause was soon found: The Internet satellite dish, which had survived many other wind blasts, was found “sleeping” on the job, it’s ground anchor system broken like a matchstick.