January 21, 2010

Sonoran Desert - El Nino Style

The third and most powerful storm is rolling through Arizona right now. It is expected to drop 4" of rain in the desert (nearly as much as all of 2009 combined!) and 4 feet of snow on the Mogollon Rim. Constant rain, winds over 30-60 mph, flash floods, and pile of snow above 4000 feet has shut this state down.

Linda ventured out with Hilina to the library this morning before the heaviest part of the storm arrived and already the roads were covered with water any place where a wash comes down. They have closed I-17 for a hundred miles between the Verde Rim and Flagstaff due to heavy snow. They are evacuating houses near washes and the Verde River is expected to have a flood 10-20 feet above its banks. It could be the biggest floods ever to hit Sedona (Oak Creek) and the Verde Valley.

As for us, we have battened down the hatches, sealed everything we can, and closed our slideout to prepare for the strong winds that are expected to arrive in the next few hours. Our trailer sure seems a lot smaller when the bed is slid in.

Here you can see some doves huddled up, trying to avoid the rains.

With El Nino in town, California and Arizona are getting near record storms. That is just a part of life in this region. The real question is whether these storms will also create the conditions for a near record wildflower year. That is something I eagerly await to see. But, for now, we just need to stay dry and warm and wait for the sunshine to return on Sunday.

I will not be venturing out today to try and photodocument the flash floods or driving up to Flagstaff to see the snow. But, in the days to come I'll try and capture signs of that flooding (like logs piled onto cacti). Maybe we'll look for some snow next week or so...Stay tuned!

No comments: