Recent Storm Great For Numbers, Bad For Motorists

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The storm Sunday and Monday produced more than 1.5 inches of rain for Payson.

Weather observer Anna Mae Deming reported 1.63 inches as of Tuesday morning and said it was still raining. The estimated total for the year 19.63 inches. The area's average annual rainfall is 22 inches.

The weather also resulted in more than a half-dozen vehicle accidents in the Rim country's higher elevations, according to Pine-Strawberry and Christopher-Kohls fire department officials.

"We had three accidents between 9 and 10 a.m. Sunday," said Capt. Bob Lashua of the PSFD. Five people, two of whom were in serious condition, were transported with injuries, he said.

The accidents occurred above Strawberry where five inches of snow fell Sunday morning. Hail and ice compounded already poor driving conditions.

On the new stretch of Highway 260 at Christopher Creek, the fire department responded to five accidents, Chief Ray Larsen said.

CKFD personnel responded to the first incident at 4:45 p.m. and within an hour there were four more accidents, including one in which a fast-moving vehicle collided with an existing wreck. Two of the accidents were rollovers, he said.

"We called out five ambulances, but canceled one," Larsen said. "All the injuries were minor."

Assisting the CKFD were the Forest Lakes and Diamond Star Fire Districts, as well as numerous law enforcement officers, who were called in to help slow the traffic.

Larsen said all the accidents involved westbound vehicles driving too fast then hitting icy roads.

"The ice was gone just about as fast as it built up," he said. "We were working in the rain through it all."

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