Weekend storm brings big rainfall
Yavapai County sites received some of the heaviest rainfall in the state from the powerful storm that hit this weekend, and Crown King was at the top with a whopping 7.55 inches.
Prescott recorded 2.5 inches of rain on the northeast side of town where a National Weather Service measuring site is located. Much more fell on the higher-elevations south of town.
Rain, sleet and hail deluged Prescott's Christmas parade, but it stopped by the time the courthouse lighting took place at 6 p.m. It rained almost continuously for nearly 24 hours.
The Weather Service issued a flood advisory for Yavapai County, but the only reports of flooding occurred on Prescott streets. The agency also got a report of rocks falling on Highway 89 on Yarnell Hill just south of Yarnell.
Snow levels dropped to 6,500 feet and produced 17-24 inches of snow at various levels of the Snowbowl ski area north of Flagstaff, as well as 8 inches on the north rim of the Grand Canyon, said Ben Peterson of the National Weather Service office in Flagstaff.
However, high winds blew much of the snow off the ski area, he said.
The combination of a cut-off low pressure system off the coast of Baja and a cold front from the Northwest produced the heavy rain and windy conditions, the Weather Service said. The cut-off low brought subtropical moisture, and the cold front brought substantial lift to the moisture.
The Weather Service received reports of wind gusts reaching 44 mph at the Prescott airport, and similar speeds came out of Cherry and Crown King.
Crown King Fire Chief Steve Lombardo confirmed that the 7.55 inches of rain that a gauge recorded there was accurate. That most likely was the highest rainfall total in the state from this storm, Peterson said.
"It came down the whole weekend," Lombardo said. "Just downpouring," especially between Friday night and Saturday afternoon.
He cannot remember that community getting so much rain at one time since 1992 or 1993.
A couple homes flooded in Crown King and the roads were a mess, but no serious problems occurred, Lombardo added.
Crown King, isolated in the Prescott National Forest about 30 miles south of Prescott, has an average annual precipitation of 28.5 inches, Lombardo said. Before this storm, it had seen only 9.5 inches there.
Other Yavapai County rainfall totals included 3.16 inches in Cherry, 2.93 inches at Humbug Creek, 1.31 inches at the Prescott airport, 4.49 inches at Sunset Point, 4.25 inches at Oak Creek, 2.72 inches at Jerome, 1.33 inches at Cottonwood, 1.95 inches at Bagdad and 3.30 inches at Sedona.
In the Prescott vicinity, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University weather stations recorded 4.20 inches at the Mountain Club subdivision on the south side of Prescott, 3.27 inches at Groom Creek, 2.76 inches at north Prescott, 2.23 inches in Williamson Valley, 2.02 inches at Humboldt, 1.89 inches at ERAU and 1.34 inches in Prescott Valley.
Prescott's Sundog site recorded only 0.02 inches of rain for November because the cutoff for each day's recording is midday. All 0.02 inches fell on the last day of the month. The rest of this storm's rain will go on the December statistics.
December's average precipitation at Sundog is only 1.62 inches, so the month already has beaten the average.
The region has another chance for a decent rain this weekend, Peterson said.
"As of right now, it looks pretty promising," he said Monday afternoon.