Record rainfall in Arizona

Most one-day rainfall on record. Not just for the date, but for all dates.

In southern Arizona, Bisbee set an all-time record of 1.06 inches of rain on Tuesday, beating a 1952 record for the wettest one-day rainfall, according to the Weather Service.

https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/arizona-weather/2019/03/13/storm-causes-slick-r oads-northern-arizona-record-rainfall-bisbee/3151535002/

Thanks to Clay Olson for this link


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14 thoughts on “Record rainfall in Arizona”

  1. I know Arizona is dry having been privileged enough to visit the Grand Canyon in 2006 but 1.06 inch of rain is not much of a record and probably doesn’t deserve the attention ?

    • Given that the average annual rainfall for most of the state is 8 inches or less, a one-day one-inch rainfall is a big deal to those whose very existence is highly dependent upon the limited amount of rainfall that falls each year.

    • it’s actually a lot of rain falling on hard dry surfaces that can cause disastrous flash flooding. I was in Bisbee a month ago and an inch of rain there in a short period could cause real problems running off the mountains surrounding the town.

    • Arizona’s land surfaces tend to be like gravel parking lots. There’s no organic material or top soil. And bedrock is often just a few feet below the surface. Very few homes in AZ have basements, because of the prohibitive cost of excavating bedrock. So even modest rains create flash flooding.

      Drive around Tucson, and you’ll see signs everywhere to not attempt to drive through standing water on roadways during floods. Arroyos/gulleys are everywhere. There’s not good natural drainage. Slot canyons up north are known to channel heavy rains from storms tens of miles away down the only courses available and catch hikers by surprise to deadly effect.

  2. In the late 1200s AD, at the beginning of the little ice age, there were two great floods in central Arizona, causing the people who lived at what is now Phoenix to abandon their settlements and irrigation systems. Apparently a cooler and more variable climate can cause both floods and droughts.

    • I’ve read about that. They’ve found their footprints embedded into clay layers next to the canals they created for agricultural.

  3. 1.06″ may not seem like a lot, but think about it. It is the most rainfall that has ever (in our recorded history) fallen there in a single day. Your local climate is adapted to the regular rainfall. If you get a day of all time record rainfall, in a desert climate or a rainforest, it is a big event. You have to consider soil types, watershed and runoff infrastructure abilities, and possible debris. 1.06″ may not be much in Seattle, but for Arizona it’s huge. It’s not just the amount, it’s the amount compared to the norm. Its a ratio, increase the average rainfall and keep the record to compliment that climate. You will see a similar outcome for each. Imagine Seattle beating an all time record for one day rainfall. It’s easy to mistake a small number as unimpressive but, if anything, the effects are probably exponentially greater in a more arid climate. But that will most likely be shown this spring and summer when the southwest is growing and blooming more than we’ve ever witnessed before.

  4. i also thought it was a misprint..to be excited about ONE inch of rain;-)
    surely the snowmelt would give far more than and inch of water?

  5. After observing boats in use saving people from the effects of weather events like this it occurred to me that we should add up all the water displacement by ocean going vessels by year to determine if ocean rise can be related to increased water displacement as shipping has increased around the world in the last few hundred years. So if anyone has data related this question – please present!

  6. Phoenix has clay, and I presume that the salt River. Given when younger I lived in the flood plain in Mesa.

  7. In reply to J D Yoder on shipping ; the oceans are vast.I have cruised in the Med many times and…..in one of the busiest seas in the world……often only seen 3 or 4 ships at a distance, from my balcony.
    The Med is TINY compared to the Indian, Atlantic,,,,,,and particularly, Pacific Oceans. Plus they have great depth……..MILES deep.
    A huge cruise ship of 1000 ft in length only has a draught of about 28 feet.
    Put that in perspective,please !

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