Storm microburst demolishes 17 Calcot cotton warehouses in Arizona

Storm microburst demolishes 17 Calcot cotton warehouses in Arizona

A powerful weather microburst demolished 17 warehouses and damaged 21 remaining structures at Calcot Limited’s cotton warehousing facility in Glendale, Ariz. on Oct. 18.

A powerful weather event called a microburst demolished 17 warehouses and damaged 21 remaining structures at Calcot Limited’s cotton warehousing facility in Glendale, Ariz. (Phoenix area) on Oct. 18.

The extent of the damage at the Calcot site was so significant that the City of Glendale issued an “unsafe to occupy” notice on the 70-acre parcel until further investigation.

Glendale ordered Calcot staff to vacate its office by Oct. 25 at 5 p.m. Calcot appealed the order to allow essential staff to work.

Calcot is a cotton marketing cooperative based in Bakersfield, Calif. and markets cotton for grower members in California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas.

Luckily no one was injured in the microburst incident. Calcot reports the cotton storage buildings and contents were fully insured.

“Fortunately this happened on a Sunday when nobody was at the facility,” said Calcot President Jarral Neeper.

The loss of storage availability from the powerful storm temporarily reduces the co-op’s storage space in Glendale by about 40 percent.

Neeper said, “I believe the financial impact on our cooperative and our members will be negligible, but we will have to adjust operations in response.”

Warehouses mostly empty

The Arizona cotton harvest is just getting underway for many growers. Luckily the Calcot warehouses were only 15-20 percent full when the storm hit.

Calcot is rerouting shipments from inbound gins and outgoing to customers. Incoming bales will be rerouted to Calcot’s Bakersfield operation.

Interim staging areas for incoming bales have been set up at the Chandler Ginning Company in Casa Grande and Farmers’ Gin in Buckeye. The gins are located in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area.

Paul Bush, Calcot Vice-President of the Glendale operation, said, “Everyone from gins and gin managers to truckers have been very understanding and willing to work with us in this very unusual situation.”

What's a microburst?

A microburst is an unusual, dangerous storm phenomenon usually associated with a summer monsoon storm in Arizona.  High pressure is forced downward at a high rate of speed which can cause instantaneous devastation.

A densely populated area hit by a microburst can resemble a war zone.

The Arizona monsoon season officially ended in mid-September. It is unknown whether this weather system could be tied to the strong El Niño weather system predicted to bring higher than average winter rainfall to Arizona this fall, winter, and possibly into the early spring.  

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