Lightning Strikes Twice Or More

Wet winter, dry spring and a great monsoon deliver best flow of water in years


The gentle afternoon showers and occasional downpours of this year's monsoon season capped a drought-breaking wet year in Rim Country.

The storms of August, which billowed up over the Mogollon Rim, delivered just more than four inches of rain, about 58 percent more than the normal 2.58 inches. The rush of monsoon storms in July and August brought the total for the year to nearly 15 inches -- about 15 percent above normal.


These threatening skies looking south to southwest from Green Valley Park were part of a monsoon-like storm that brought more rain to the Rim Country last week.

The monsoons won't officially end until Sept. 30, but the season has already turned in a stellar performance. The storms delivered plenty of rain, which also served to keep the forest moist enough to prevent the frequent thunderstorms from starting many fires. So no only did the region have a great water year -- it got a one-year reprieve from the increasingly deadly fires of recent years.

The summer runoff left the Salt River Project's reservoirs at 88 percent capacity. The The most important reservoir in the system that supplied Phoenix with much of its water is Roosevelt, which stands now at 91 percent capacity.

The dividing line between two of the state's major watersheds -- the Salt and the Verde -- essentially runs through Star Valley. Both of those river systems delivered above-normal flows this year.

The Salt River drainage, which includes Tonto Creek and the other streams draining into Lake Roosevelt, delivered 1.8 million acre-feet -- about 64 percent above normal. Last year, the Salt River watershed delivered just 1.1 million acre-feet.

Tonto Creek carried about 1,458 acre-feet in August, bringing its total for the year to about 163,000, or 83 percent above normal.

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