TEP crews work to turn the lights back on
Photo: Video by kgun9.com
Reporter: Marcelino Benito
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - It's the morning after in Tucson and the city looks a little different than it did yesterday. Road closed signs, standing water outside Tucson Mall, bill boards blown away, and downed trees dot the landscape.
"Pretty much chaos," said Kyle Tropple, of AAA Landscaping.
Seventy-two trees were knocked down in a shopping center along Oracle and Wetmore alone, and landscaping crews were busy cleaning it all up. 9OYS reporter Marcelino Benito asked crews what the scene was like when they arrived this morning.
"It was just all over the road, all the trees were taken down, blocking traffic, blocking off the main streets. Everyone was just swerving in and out of trees."
Another massive tree came crashing down right in front of the Tucson Mall, but believe it or not, that wasn't the worst damage.
"It did remind me of some tornadoes from Texas," said Roe Akins, a manager at Jason's Deli across from the mall.
Power lines snapped, cracked and twisted up and down Oracle. Tucson Electric says a total of 35 poles were taken down. At points, 35,000 were without power.
"We have a couple of days worth of repairs that they're going to need to make, as you can see we have significant damage here," said Joseph Barrios, a spokesperson at TEP.
TEP has been working since the storm hit last night. They tell 9OYS those in the dark are down to less than a couple hundred, but the businesses in this shopping center will stay closed, at least until tomorrow. As for landscaping crews, they won't have too much downtime.
"We'll be out here all day today and then come back tomorrow and clean the rest," said Tropple. "Right now the focus is on main streets so everyone can get in and out safely."
Tucson Electric tells KGUN 9 repairs will take several days. Six power lines also fell near the Wilmot Gate at Davis Monthan. The gate will remain closed until repairs are completed.
Traffic is restricted to one lane southbound near Oracle and Wetmore. Police say it's best to avoid the area until repairs are completed.