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Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
7:45 AM Sun, Jan. 20th

Storm was 3rd strongest in Prescott history

Diana Baker/Courtesy photo<br>
Rick Logan rappels off the bridge over the Agua Fria River in Black Canyon City to repair a 6-inch water line damaged by the flood waters.

Diana Baker/Courtesy photo<br> Rick Logan rappels off the bridge over the Agua Fria River in Black Canyon City to repair a 6-inch water line damaged by the flood waters.

Last week's storm produced the third-most precipitation of all storms over the past 112 years in Prescott.

A consecutive series of three pulses produced a total of 5.59 inches of precipitation Tuesday through Saturday at the official Sundog measuring site on the northeast side of the city.

The only stronger storms on record occurred on Feb. 14-22, 1980, (6.59 inches) and Feb. 11-19, 1927, (at 10.59 inches, although the National Weather Service notes that this number could have actually been even higher because of a measurement error).

Prescott got more precipitation than snowbound Flagstaff, when measured as rain and melted snow. Flagstaff got 5.27 inches of precip, which was the 6th-highest storm total precipitation in its recorded history.

But that precipitation also added up to a whopping 54.2 inches of snow, which was the second-most snow of any storm in Flagstaff's history.

Friday's 2.97 inches of precip in Prescott also made the record books, placing 10th on the city's list of all-time wettest days since 1898.

Another storm is arriving today, but it's not going to be anything like the last one.

The Weather Service estimates it will produce about two-tenths of an inch of precipitation, mostly in the form of rain. Prescott could get less than a half-inch of snow.

The forecast is calling for a 50 percent chance of rain tonight, 70 percent chance of rain/snow Wednesday and 40 percent chance of rain/snow Wednesday night as the snow level drops to about 5,200 feet.

All state highways in the region now are open except Highway 89A through Oak Creek Canyon, which could stay closed through 5 p.m. today because part of the road surface collapsed.

About 40 homes in Oak Creek Canyon remain without electricity because Arizona Public Service crews can't get across Oak Creek to work on the lines, APS spokesman Mike Johnsen said.

A couple homes south of Prescott and Groom Creek also remain without power because of the heavy snow around the power lines. About 2-3 feet of snow fell in the higher-elevation mountains south of Prescott.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) officials are in Black Canyon City today to assess the damage with county and local officials, Fire Chief Tom Birch said.

The county has asked FEMA for as many as 75 temporary mobile homes for people whose trailers were destroyed in the River's Edge RV Park at the confluence of the Agua Fria River and Black Canyon Creek, Yavapai County Emergency Management Coordinator Nick Angiolillo said.

About 40-45 people remain trapped on the wrong side of Black Canyon Creek, Birch said. The raging creek tore out the Maren Avenue low-water crossing Thursday night, as well as the water pipeline underneath it.

Although it apparently is a private road, the local water district is working with Yavapai County officials to get some kind of temporary road crossing there for the residents, Birch said.

In the meantime, National Guard helicopters have brought water to the residents.

The water district was able to repair another damaged line that goes under the Agua Fria River, with the help of Rick Logan who rappelled down the side of a bridge to fix the leak.

The Old Black Canyon Highway bridge across the Agua Fria in Black Canyon City remains closed until officials can inspect it and determine it is safe, Birch said. While water didn't top the bridge, lots of debris banged into the bridge as the river crested to a record level.

The Agua Fria River crested at 27.91 feet at 11 p.m. Thursday, a new record. Flood stage is 16 feet.

Black Canyon City was hit the hardest in Yavapai County. Rescuers evacuated approximately 200 residents along the Agua Fria River at about 9 p.m. Thursday, and rescued at least 18 more who were trapped by floodwaters.