Skip to comments.Severe storms result in outages, blocked roadways in SW Cochise County
Posted on 07/10/2013 6:56:24 PM PDT by SandRat
SIERRA VISTA Southwest Cochise County was hammered by hurricane-level winds and torrential rains after several powerful storm systems moved through the area Tuesday night.
Rainfall measuring more than five inches has been reported in the hardest hit areas, mostly contained to an area in and around Palominas, leaving many roadways obstructed.
Crews with the Cochise County Highway and Floodplain Department have been working throughout the night to clear roadways quickly before tonights anticipated continuation of the storms.
If it rains tonight its going to get a whole lot worse, said Ron Ellis, operations manager for the Highway and Floodplain Department. We open these roads so theyre passable, then we have to move on to get them all open.
While the scope of the damage may not have been as widespread as he has seen in the past, Ellis said there are plenty of places, particularly in the canyons, that required attention.
I will say that normally, when it hits the Sierra Vista area it starts from Whetstone all the way to Sierra Vista. This time most of the damage is done in the Hereford area, he said.
Late Wednesday morning saw his crews working to get Hereford Road open after water topped the bridge there, blocking the road.
About a half-dozen power poles were damaged or destroyed by the winds, which gusted higher than 80 mph in many areas.
The largest [outage] was down south of town, in the Mariah Way, Yaqui Street area, said Wayne Crane, spokesman for Sulphur Springs Valley Electric Cooperative.
Nearly 300 homes lost power at about 10 p. m. While a little more than half had power restored by 1:30 the following morning, full service to all co-op members did not come until about 3:30 a.m.
Elsewhere, outages were either brief or smaller in scale.
There were three poles lost in the 200 North Canyon Drive area, he said.
Another power pole on Bevers Street just south of Sierra Vista was leaning dangerously, but did not result in an outage and is scheduled to be replaced.
A tree ripped down a line in the 300 block of Sherbundy Street in Sierra Vista, resulting in a manual shutdown of power until repairs could be made, Crane said.
Fry Fire District and Palominas Fire personnel responded to a vehicle stranded in up to three feet of rushing water in the area of Highway 92 and Kings Ranch Road at 7:13 p.m.
We sent an ambulance and truck out there, along with Palominas. There was a female and a male stuck in a wash over there, said Fry Fire Chief Bill Miller.
They told the patients to stay in the vehicle. A couple of our guys ended up walking out to the patients and removing them from the car and onto the bank, Miller said.
The scene was cleared after about 90 minutes.
Portions of highways 80 and 92 leading into Bisbee were shut down intermittently over the course of the storm by highway officials due to flooding waters and debris in the roadway.
We shut down portions of State Route 92 last night, from Palominas to just west of Bisbee, for periods of time from 20 minutes to an hour, an hour-and-a-half, said Sgt. Ben Buller of the Arizona Department of Public Safety.
On the west side of the Mule Pass Tunnel on Highway 80 leading into Bisbee, falling rocks resulted the nights sole collision in DPS jurisdiction, Buller said. No injuries were reported from that accident.
We also assisted the sheriffs office with their road closure of Palominas Road, he said.
Crews from the Arizona Department of Transportation were dispatched to several locations throughout the night, according to Buller.
ADOT had to come out to State Route 92 and clear debris. They also came out to State Route 80 and State Route 90. We had flooding in all those areas, he said.
There were a few isolated rocks that fell on State Route 80 between 8:30 p.m. and midnight last night along mileposts 334-337, just outside of Bisbee, said Dustin Krugel, ADOT spokesman.
The road was cleared by midnight, he said.
Several separate storm systems moved through the area last night, depositing more than four inches of rain in the Palominas area, while the canyons of the Huachuca Mountains saw between two and two-and-a-half inches of rain, said Ken Drozd, warning coordination meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Tucson.
Bisbee had an estimated rainfall of 2.14 inches, while Sierra Vista received 2.08 inches.
That is the nature of these storms. They dont cover a large area, but pockets of a few square miles will get more than others. If you happen to get more than one of those storms criss-crossing, youre going to have places end up with two, three, four inches of rain, Drozd said.
More storms are anticipated throughout the rest of the week.
We still have an abundant amount of moisture in the atmosphere, so thunderstorms that develop will certainly be able to produce a lot of rain. It looks like they would be moving a bit faster today, which could help in that they wouldnt sit over one area as long, he said.
Though there were many lightning strikes throughout the storms, no reports of brush or wildland fires were received by the Sierra Vista or Fry fire departments, officials said.
That sure is unusual at night.
That is the way this monsoon Season has been. Lat time I saw it do that was in the 70’s.
Generally it is pretty predictable.
If that doesn’t prove “anthropogenic global warming,” nothing ever will.