Our big winter storms: A summary

Storm clouds moving out of Phoenix to the northeast

Having done their damage, the storm clouds of the last several days tried to sneak away before dawn. But, aha, I caught the last of the culprits with my digital camera about 8 a.m. They were feeble-looking blobs and streaks now, moseying off to the northeast, to New Mexico and beyond, returning this land to its sobriquet, Valley of the Sun. And they left with a blessing. There should be no water shortage this year, continued drought or not.

Here in central Phoenix, I enjoyed the best of it.  The brunt of these three or four quick-striking winter storms passed to the north.  They left ample rainfall, 2.22 inches at my house, and did minimal damage.  And too, with the big reservoirs to the northeast of the metro area filling up, I will receive the long-term benefits without paying the terrible short-term price.

The first and lightest storm struck on Monday, the 18th, followed by a much bigger one the following day.  Wednesday was sunny and quiet, then the grand-daddy, No. 3,  blew in on Thursday, the 21st, and began to peter out on Friday. 

The 1.10 inches I logged Thursday on my rain gauge was the highest-single day total at the house in a year and a half.  On July 10, 2008, I recorded in my notebook 2 inches that fell in a cloudburst that lasted only 45 minutes.  Nebra reminds me that the basement flooded that time, about two or three inches deep.  And, she adds, a little bitterly I thought, that it was she who bailed the flood water out in buckets, “while you were sulking on the couch about one thing or another.” 

Anyway, our mountain watersheds now lay in deep snow, along the Mogollon Rim and the White Mountains.  The snowmelt will bring a delayed blessing in the weeks ahead via the Salt and Verde rivers.   Some places, like Wickenburg, reported six and seven inches of rain, far above the annual total in 2009.  An entire town west of here, Wenden, was evacuated. 

Today is clean-up day.  Clean up and wait for the next storm.  We can always use more rain out here in the arid lands.