More Precipitation Predicted For Rain-Soaked Rim Country

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Anna Mae Deming's phone has been ringing off the hook.

Deming, Payson's National Weather Service observer, said the weather has been keeping her busy.

"People keep calling, wanting to know how much rain we've been getting," she said. "This rain is a lifesaver and a godsend."

According to the National Weather Service, Payson has received more than a half inch of precipitation in the past 24 hours, bringing February's total rainfall to 9.36 inches, nearly half of Payson's annual average rainfall of 20.77.

"This has been the second wettest (winter) in recorded history," said National Weather Service meteorologist Mark Stubblefield.

And although the weather service forecasts rain through Thursday, weaker storms will bring in less precipitation.

"The amount of rain we're expecting isn't going to be really intense so I don't really anticipate flooding," Stubblefield said.

Thunderstorms in the forecast, though, could dump short, but intense deluges of water, causing localized flash flooding.

Mary Cambie of East Verde Estates is always prepared for the high waters. She's been flooded in eight times since Christmas.

"It has been the longest, drawn-out flooding ever," Cambier said. "In between, there's been enough time to run in and get groceries."

Meanwhile, Gila County Sheriff's Office has been watching the flooding situation. At 7 a.m., GCSO dispatcher Fritz Day said the sheriff's office closed the first and second crossings on Houston Mesa Road, as well as creek crossings in Tonto Basin, an area that has been impassable on and off for months.

"We're still picking up medication and mail and taking it to people on the east side (of Tonto Creek)," Day said.

The East Verde River crossing on East Verde Estates Road, and Flowing Springs, are currently closed to passenger vehicles.

Day said if the precipitation lets up, the crossings could be cleared for normal traffic.

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