Hurricane Odile could bring ‘catastrophic’ flooding to Arizona

Remember this record rainfall in Phoenix from hurricane Norbert just last week?


Weather forecasters predict hurricane Odile Poised to Bring Catastrophic Flooding to Southwest US:

Odile will unload tremendous rainfall over a large part of the Southwest United States that will run off the mountains and into the desert valleys and plains through the end of the week.

According to Western Weather Expert Ken Clark, “There is the potential for devastating, catastrophic and historic flooding in this scenario.”

The heaviest rainfall will hit the Southwestern states of Arizona and New Mexico where a general 3 to 6 inches will fall, but local amounts of 10 inches are possible on the slopes of the mountains. Rainfall of 1 to 2 inches per hour can occur.


“Not only will flash and urban flooding occur in this case, but there is the potential for major river flooding,” Clark said.

“Travel on Interstate-10 between El Paso, Texas, and Phoenix will be dangerous,” Clark said.

A safer route from the Plains to California will be I-40, but delays and poor visibility are possible due to heavy rain.

The rain from Odile is coming just one week after moisture from Norbert drenched the region, creating major flooding.

Norbert caused a daily record rainfall of 3.29 inches at Phoenix earlier in September.

The combined rainfall from Norbert and Odile has the potential to cause September to be the wettest month ever in some areas. For example, during August of 1955, 7.9 inches of rain fell at Tuscon, and set the mark for the wettest month since records began in 1895. Thus far this month, about 2.5 inches of rain have fallen at Tuscon.

Cities that could be affected by the heavy, flooding thunderstorms include Phoenix, Flagstaff, Tucson and Yuma, Arizona; Albuquerque, New Mexico, and El Paso, Texas.

Spotty, heavy thunderstorms can reach as far to the north and west as Las Vegas, Palm Springs, California, and Salt Lake City, Utah.

“The greatest risk of widespread flooding in the Southwest will be from during early Wednesday morning into Thursday night,” Clark said.

“However, spotty heavy showers and thunderstorms will continue, especially over the higher terrain into the weekend and can lead to additional flooding in isolated areas.”

I know we live in a desert and only occasionally have to deal with tropical storms and remnants of hurricanes from the Gulf of California, but let’s be smart about this people. After the flooding experience of last week, businesses should be telling their employees to stay home for the next couple of days. School districts should do the same. If you are not a critical employee — police, fire, rescue and medical — there is no reason for you to be out on the roads making a nuisance of yourself and putting yourself and others at risk. If you ever lived in hurricane country,  you are familiar with the drill.

If you experienced flooding last week, then why are you reading this? You should have been out filling sandbags to protect your property since Sunday. You were warned. It’s better to take precautions than to put your faith in “it’s not going to happen to me” (famous last words). Let’s try to keep the losses to a minimum.

As Sergeant Phil Esterhaus used to say on Hill Street Blues, “Let’s be careful out there.”

One response to “Hurricane Odile could bring ‘catastrophic’ flooding to Arizona

  1. How ironic, another apparent weather anomaly the same time as the historic People’s Climate March in Tucson, Oakland, and NYC.

    How ironic I am an unemployed precision irrigation designer in Tempe, without the means to fix serious leakages in critical parts of our smaller abode’s roof, still heavily in debt due to the Stupid Growth Initiative in Arizona from 200 to 2007, while the ignoramuses at the Morrison Institute and Central Arizona Project take illegitimate bows for achieving over 80% ag-irrigation efficiency over the entire CAP service area. Double shame to HDR Engineering for creating the report, and taking the money

    What a sad day for Salt River Project and ADWR, endorsing pumping water 3,000 feet above the Colorado River, just to pour it on the desert, when the Mead Lake reservoir declines to levels that reduce hydro-power generation efficiency. Pray for the marchers.