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Come the middle of June or so, you can't turn around without someone warning newcomers to the Valley to keep out of the flooded washes. This is sage advice, advice that long-time Arizonans get tired of hearing and roll our eyes at, because, well, DUH. Yes, it's perfectly safe when it's dry, and yes, it's dry 98% of the time. But that other 2%? It can be the most dangerous waterway you've ever seen in your life and it CAN sweep you, your vehicle (no matter what it is; the local Television stations just LOVE showing the washes carrying away Hummers, Semi tractors, and even a heavy-loader Caterpillar bulldozer), your house, your parking lot, or anything else it feels like, away. It can kill you. Stay out of the water.

One year, back in the 80's, we were up in far north Phoenix (before it was built up) and there was a full wash -- we didn't know about it, because it was dark and it was late and we didn't see it until my headlights disappeared under the water. Somehow, someway, we got out of that wash, but it's not anything I would have done had I seen it, and I certainly wouldn't drive around any barriers to try and cross a wash (which some people, Lord save them, do; and that is why Arizona has "stupid motorist" laws, requiring you to recompense the rescue teams required to fish you out if you're swept away).

Arizona's climate is a vast mass of contradictions. Right now, early-to-mid June, it's becoming blazingly hot (that sort of hot where you just can't describe it as anything but), but it's still dry. Really, really dry. But next week is the "official" start of the monsoon season (for some reason a few years ago they stopped calling it after three consecutive days of a dewpoint average of 51 or higher), and with the monsoons comes the potential for flash floods. We may not have a wet one; we haven't had a really, really WET monsoon in many years (although last year wasn't too bad). But all it takes is one good storm, and WHAM!

Of course, just to prove everyone wrong, this weekend it's going to drop back into the low 90's, and yes, this is a place where 93 degrees is a "big cooldown."

I am very tired. I was so tired yesterday I was having shakes. And yet, despite drooping around all day yesterday I couldn't sleep AGAIN last night.

Adopt one today! * Adopt one today! * Adopt one today! * Adopt one today! * Adopt one today!


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 10th, 2010 01:13 am (UTC)
Stay safe in the monsoons, absolutely!

Jun. 10th, 2010 01:35 am (UTC)
I just hope we actually HAVE some this year! {HUG}
Jun. 10th, 2010 03:25 am (UTC)

I remember those washes and asking the locals why dry ditches were given names. 'So they can announce them on the news when they AREN'T dry,' was the answer.

I saw that for myself coming back from Tombstone. It was my only free day to see the place. It poured all day. That didn't stop me. coming back to Tucson I saw how nasty those arroyos could get
Jun. 10th, 2010 11:52 pm (UTC)
Yeah, those arroyos are to be FEARED. I got caught in some seriously bad weather coming through Texas Canyon once on that freeway (between Tucson and the road to Tombstone)...
Jun. 10th, 2010 03:34 am (UTC)
It's very hot. Yes.

> I am very tired. I was so tired yesterday I was having shakes. And yet, despite drooping around all day yesterday I couldn't sleep AGAIN last night.

{{{hugs}}} I really hope that the doctor can sort this out.
Jun. 10th, 2010 11:52 pm (UTC)

Hot is the word. Definitely, definitely hot.

We shall see!
Jun. 10th, 2010 07:07 pm (UTC)
My other favorite place for Phoenix flooding during monsoon season (I was there in August of 07 and it was pretty rainy) was under all the overpasses where the drainage is soooo not sufficient and feet of water build up to create impassable roads. Some of the infrastructure there really boggles my mind as to why they didn't pass the "is this logical in this climate?" test - mainly those stupid underpasses and the aqueduct that's open to the sun. Despite all of the potential hazards, it's a beautiful state that I'd love to visit more.
Jun. 10th, 2010 11:57 pm (UTC)
I think a great many things in these cities were built by architects/firms which are NOT living here. They simply do not know how to build in this climate.

Of course, I'm sure storm drains and the like were put in by the same geniuses who put up the city bridges with the cavalier "This will hold in a flood" attitude. Um, not so much. Nature will not be mocked -- so when they built the I-10 bridge "to last through a 50-year flood," Nature immediately sent a "100-year flood." So they built for that, only to be gifted with a "500-year flood." We watched the new Mill Avenue bridge (before it was completed) torn down by the river live on the news because they were out there doing a weather report.

Since they built the Town Lake and do regular releases so the wetlands/vegetation come back to the river bottom, I think there's less general trouble with the Salt River (which, before the damns were built, could flood all the way up to Jefferson).

Almost all the canals are open to the sun. Not sure why. Even the Grand Canal, cutting most of the way through the state. Possibly because they're canals, and possibly because they're based on the Ancient Hohokam canals, which served much the same purpose (and they're a leftover from when Phoenix was more farmland than city).

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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