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Sat, April 20

August set rain records in Prescott area

Water runs out of the Safeway shopping complex, flooding Haining Street in Prescott, during a downpour Aug. 19. (Matt Hinshaw/The Daily Courier)

Water runs out of the Safeway shopping complex, flooding Haining Street in Prescott, during a downpour Aug. 19. (Matt Hinshaw/The Daily Courier)

August normally is the wettest month of the year in Yavapai County, but this August also was among the wettest on record for several communities.

It was the wettest August on record for Chino Valley (7.09 inches of rain) and Cottonwood (5.93 inches), where records date back to 1941 and 1920, respectively.

It was the fifth wettest August for Prescott's official Sundog measuring site on the northeast side of the city (8.31 inches), and the sixth wettest for the Prescott airport (4.67 inches), about seven miles north of Sundog. Their records date back to 1898 and 1948.

"It was just a pretty ideal pattern," said Justin Johndrow of the National Weather Service office in Flagstaff. The position of a high-pressure ridge was right at the Four Corners, and upper air disturbances coincided with tropical moisture surges more than once.

The average August rainfall for Prescott is 3.18 inches, so last month's total was 261 percent of average.

Other rainfall totals for the month reported by the Weather Service included 5.07 inches for Bagdad, 6.38 inches for Jerome, 5.40 inches for Camp Verde, 2.79 inches for Seligman and 5.93 inches at Clarkdale.

Rainfall totals at some of the Yavapai County Flood Control District sites included 6.65 inches at Black Canyon City, 5.95 inches at Prescott Valley, 7.05 inches at Lynx Lake and 9.05 inches on Granite Creek at the White Spar Campground on the south side of Prescott.

The highest rainfall totals for the month in northern Arizona occurred in Yavapai County and southern Coconino County, the National Weather Service reported.

Because of the frequent rains and clouds, it also was among the coolest Augusts for some communities.

It was the third coolest August on record for the Prescott airport and seventh coolest for Cottonwood.

Sometimes the rain fell much faster than residents would have liked, causing flooding problems.

Following are the major storms of the month that affected Yavapai County:

• Aug. 10: Cottonwood reported street flooding, while dime-sized hail was reported there and in Sedona during heavy thunderstorms.

• Aug. 12: County Road 15 near Yava was washed out by flooding. The Agua Fria River flooded near Humboldt. Low water crossings were flooded in the Prescott Country Club. Rockslides and accidents in heavy rains closed Interstate 17 from Sunset Point to Black Canyon City.

• Aug. 19: The southeastern part of the county was hit with heavy rains, including Black Canyon City with 5.71 inches of rain, Crown King with 5.24 inches and Humbug Creek with 6.02 inches. The River's Edge Trailer Park was evacuated as the Agua Fria River overflowed its banks at its confluence with Black Canyon Creek. Several trails and vehicles were damaged by the floodwaters.

• Aug. 25: One to two inches of rain fell in Bagdad in a short period of time, flooding portions of Highway 96 and 97 south and east of Bagdad. State highway crews had to remove rocks from the highways, too.

• Aug. 26: Bagdad was hit again, this time with 0.88 inches of rain in 20 minutes at the copper mine and 1.55 inches in town. Flooding damaged 14 homes. With a peak wind gust of 72 mph, power poles fell, car windows were broken by debris and a 100-foot-tall radio tower fell.

After a relatively dry Labor Day weekend, moisture is supposed to start returning to northern Arizona today, with chances for rain increasing today through the weekend.

Follow Joanna Dodder on Twitter @joannadodder.


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