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Monday, July 21, 2008

Heavy rains over the weekend

According to KVOA last night, we are already 0.9" above the average rainfall for July. We also have below-normal temperatures, which I don't mind.

Minimal storm damage reported
Heavy rainfall amplifies San Pedro River flow
By Bill Hess, Shar Porier and Lynanne GelinasHerald/Review
Published on Monday, July 21, 2008

SIERRA VISTA — Most areas of Cochise County made it through the stormy weekend without mishap.High Knoll Road, the site of road-washout flood last year, was passable for the most part with just a few areas of slick mud.

A sink hole opened on Isla Bonita, near Kachina Trail, and Sierra Vista Public Works have blocked the impassible road, according to Sierra Vista police Officer Glenn Hellig. There were no reports of rescues of stranded or trapped motorists, he added.

A flash flood warning was in effect in areas of south central Cochise County through Sunday night.

Carol Capas, public information officer with the Cochise County Sheriff’s Office, said a number of roads were closed down Saturday night after the storm but were reopened on Sunday. However, with the heavy rains predicted again for Sunday evening, things could be change.

“The good news is we had no accidents or rescues,” she added.In Tucson, however, it was a different story. One man was missing after his car that was stuck in a wash was swept away by rushing water.

Roy Harris, 28, was swept away just before midnight Saturday and was still missing Sunday evening, Tucson police Sgt. Fabian Pacheco said.

Dozens of rescuers on foot, in the water and in helicopters searched for Harris through Sunday. They were to resume the search today, focusing on the Santa Cruz River, Pacheco said.

Heavy rains Saturday and Sunday caused fast-moving and high water to be registered at three gauges along the San Pedro, the last free-flowing river in Arizona. According to gauges in Palominas, Charleston and one slightly north of the Charleston, flows ranged from a low of 350 cubic feet per second to a high of 2,000 cfs with the river’s height ranging from slightly more than 3 to 7 feet.

When measuring, a cfs, that means 7.5 gallons of water per second flows past a fixed point. Following is the breakdown for amounts registered at the three gauges, with the highs for Sunday and Saturday.
• At Palominas, the highest cfs was registered on Saturday when it reached 300, with the river’s height at that on that day measuring 4 and a half feet. On Sunday the statistics were 100 cfs and 3 feet high.
• At Charleston, the largest amount of measurement on Sunday when 2,000 cfs was measured, with the river reaching 7 feet on that day. On Saturday, the highest amount of water passing a fixed point was about 400 cfs with the river height slightly more than 3 feet.
• For the gauge called Near Tombstone, which is north of the Charleston gauge near Highway 82, the most water flowing past the measuring device happened early Sunday morning when it reached about 1,250 cfs, and when the river was 6 feet high at that point.

Saturday’s highest flow measurement, was before midnight when it reached approximately 150 cfs with the river about 4 feet high at that time.When it comes to water flowing past the gauges, it takes time from when rain starts until much of it reaches the river to be measured.

According to, which reports rainfall throughout the state with the help of online volunteers who are equipped with rain gauges, the amount of rain that fell Saturday in Cochise County ranged from a low of 0.26 inches near Whetstone to a high of 2.22 inches near Tombstone.

The Sierra Vista area saw rainfall amounts from 0.5 inches to 2.1 inches. Sierra Vista Fire Department Station No. 1, the city’s official rain measurement point for the National Weather Service, recorded almost one inch of rain during the 24-hour period ending 6 p.m. Sunday.

Over the past seven days the station recorded 1.57 inches of rain.No major problems were noted on Fort Huachuca, which saw about 2 inches of rain fall Saturday night, according to post spokeswoman Tanja Linton.

The chance of precipitation each day through the end of the week is about 30 to 40 percent, according to the National Weather Service.

Across the state, a wet monsoon has lowered the risk for fires. Mid-July is typically the peak time for wildfires in the state. But officials say storms and the humidity have minimized the fire risk.Earlier this month, the state’s six national forests lifted all campfire and smoking restrictions. The Coronado National Forest is at the lowest fire danger level, according to the National Forest Service’s Web site.

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