Saturday, July 28, 2007

Gullywasher 2007

Flooding on Calle Mumble, 7/27/07

Oh, yes! We're having a good monsoon so far! We only have a couple of inches recorded at the airport for the 2007 monsoon since it started a couple of weeks ago, but that's almost as much as we got for the entire 2004 rainy season. Plus I think we've had more rain up and down my Wilmot stomping grounds than at the airport. Aside from plant debris and a few accidents I've seen no damage, just lots of dramatic rain to refill our chronically depleted aquifer.

One of the nice things about the Arizona monsoon is the timing of the storms. I've remarked before that it resembles the lyrics to the title song from Camelot, the bit about about it not raining until after sundown. Occasionally it rains as early as 2 PM or so, but usually it's 4 PM or later, sometimes as late as midnight. So today I was able to take the car for emissions testing at lunchtime, and not run into a drop of rain. That hit around 4 PM. By the time I drove home around 6:30 or 7 PM, there was one heavy squall for about a block, but the rain was mostly over with. While it was here though, it dumped a huge amount of water throughout my neighborhood, as I discovered when I tried to drive home with a "to go" order from Mama's Pizza.

This is a wash near Palo Verde High School. It crosses the main back street route between Kolb and Wilmot behind 22nd Street. In more than a decade of living in this neighborhood, I've seen this wash run with water a few times each summer, usually just a few inches deep in the street itself. With maybe one exception, I don't remember it ever being deep enough to turn me away from crossing it - until tonight. See that spot in the middle of the water there? That's a box or a tire or something, washing away.

I drove closer, not intending to cross, but just to take a better picture. Yes, this was swift and maybe a foot deep, a Stupid Motorists Law situation waiting to happen. See, every year, rescue services get called out to pull cars out of washes. The driver then gets hit with a bill for being rescued from the results of his or her stupidity. But the wash behind the Palo Verde football field is usually not more than three or four inches deep as it crosses Calle Betelgeux. No real danger in that. Tonight, though, I was one of a number of drivers who turned around and headed off another way.

The detour didn't help much. I soon came upon more flooding, and little choice but to cross it, unless I wanted to double back all the way to Kolb! Seeing that the motor home had already crossed, I chanced it. No problem.

Uh-oh. Trying to turn right after crossing the lesser flooding, I saw another part of the same wash that's behind Palo Verde. The motor home driver clearly had decided not to cross it. The vehicle on the other side of the wash turned around rather than driving through. The woman and the dog, well, they didn't seem too worried, but they didn't go wading, either.

So I backed up and drove on, trying to find another way through. I came across yet a third piece of that same wash, again impressively deep. In the end I had to double back all the way to Kolb Road, a mile east of Wilmot. There was no other way to reach Wilmot except via the main roads, either 22nd or Golf Links. I went with Golf Links.

And yes, in the end, John's pizza slice and I got home safely.

I love the monsoon!


NWS Monsoon Tracker - Rainfall

Current Conditions - Tucson Intl Airport


Carly said...

Yikes... rain. Ugg. Be careful. :)

Becky said...

That is so weird! We have extensive sewer and grate systems along side every road so you hardly ever see flooding like that unless it's been raining for weeks and the sewer system gets overwhelmed. It happens. They shut the main road through town down because it goes under water. It's down at lake level and looks like the lake decided to take a walk to town. LOL! I guess where you are the expense of an extensive underground drainage ditch system just doesn't make good economic sense.