Three Inches of Rain

I’d have thought that the desert, being, you know, sorta dry, could absorb all kinds of water without any problem. That when the rains came, the water would disappear without a trace, sucked up by the parched land.

I was wrong.

Flash flooding occurs when it rains rapidly on saturated soil
or dry soil that has poor absorption ability.
The runoff collects in gullies and streams and,
as they join to form larger volumes,
often forms a fast flowing front of water and debris.

Here in the Phoenix area, the key is “dry soil that has poor absorption ability.”

In February, some parts of the valley had three inches of rain in 24 hours. This is what that looked like where I was. I’ve never seen reflections of saguaro cactuses before.

2-photo collage of unusual flooding in Phoenix


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2 Responses to Three Inches of Rain

  1. Such stillness.
    My sister lives in the desert (Palm Springs) and they had more rain in 24 hours than in a year or something like that 4″… And then it kept raining for days. Great for the aquifer under the whole small town.

    Betsy lives beside (but high enough) a long “wash” that is mostly sand and scrub and rabbits and coyotes, it crosses one of two entrances to her community and when the water is finally gone, there will be a foot of mud left for the city to clean up … in their own sweet time [read months].

    When the wash fills during rainstorms, ducks land and float down to its end (a concrete wall with underwater pipes for drainage, eventually). Betsy says they land and glide to the high wall, suddenly there! and squawk. What the ?

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Barbara – Yes, I can believe that the wall would come as a surprise. Almost as much as the water in that location in the first place.

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