Winds cause damage, power outages

Navajo Times | Donovan Quintero
Dust blown by winds gusting up to 65 mph moves across State Highway 264 west of Yatahey, New Mexico on Thursday evening.


Navajo Times | Ravonelle Yazzie
Strong winds rip off the roof a mobile home near Kinlichee, Arizona on Thursday afternoon.

Sustained winds up to 65 mph damaged buildings and caused power outages on Thursday.

According to the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority, power outages occurred from Sheepsprings, New Mexico to Steamboat, Arizona, affecting hundreds of homes and businesses.

By 8:15 p.m., residents in Ganado were reporting their power being restored. It is not known if Sheepsprings had their power back on.

To add salt to the wound, a home in Kinlichee had its roof partially torn off. The roof of the Upper Fruitland Chapter House was also heavily damaged when the winds peeled the sheet metal away. Emergency personnel in Upper Fruitland said the chapter house was evacuated.

Navajo Times | Donovan Quintero
Linemen work on a power line Thursday evening as gusting winds blow dust into the air west of Yatahey, New Mexico.

The National Weather Service has been issuing red flag warnings and wind advisories all week. The wind is expected to continue into Friday. While the weekend may bring some solace, the winds are expected to pick up again on Monday.

Navajo Nation Police Chief Phillip Francisco said Thursday drivers should use caution. He added that a fire which broke out on the Summit may have been caused by a downed power line. He did not say if the heavy winds caused the power line to break.

NTUA said they were continuing to work until all power is restored and asked the public to “please be patient” and recommended the public “make necessary arrangements” if the power outage lasts into Friday.

Special to the Times | Ray Landry
Thursday’s high winds toppled the Indian statue outside Ortega’s at the Navajo Travel Plaza in west Gallup.

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