08 September 2014

It was a dark and stormy night...

No really it was.

Doppler RADAR was clear about 0030 but the noise of the rain on the roof woke me from a dead sleep around 0220.  To say it rained cats and dogs would be an understatement. Let's go with tigers and wolves for now.  The first band moved off by 0300 followed by another around 0630 and a third around 0830 as I headed to work.  Local news reports Phoenix Sky Harbor logged 3.69" rain and surrounding communities reported 5" give or take.

Streets were flooded.  Case in point, SandCastle Street:
Photo credit SandCastle Queen c2014
The SCQueen waded in about a foot of water to take this picture.

It helps to understand Arizona laws regarding water retention.  I've been told* Arizona state law requires a land owner to retain any and all water that falls on his property, on his property.  This helps recharge the ground water and simplifies city provided storm run-off management.  While communities that regularly receive a surplus of water they can easily divert storm surplus out to sea,  We live in  desert and every bit of water that falls upon us is precious should be saved for the future.

Now it's not terribly practical for each home owner residing on a sub-acre lot of suburbia to comply. Instead each section of suburbia has a low spot that the storm run-off drains to, also called retention basin.

Our community retention basin is 90 degrees to the right of the above picture and  750 ft down the street seen here:
Photo Credit SandCastle Queen c2014
The retention basin is about the furthest you can see in the shot above.  The four tall palm trees just right of the close in palm at the left edge is in the retention basin.

360 days a year the retention basin is conveniently disguised as an inviting grassy park.  Ours even has a sand covered tot play area and a sports court with basketball rims.  5 days a year it's a small pond after typical summer thunder-boomer.  Once or twice a century that "pond" overflows and the local drains backup into the street.

Like this:
Photo Credit SandCastle Queen c2014
The water retention basin is to the left, sports court close edge marked by the basketball hoop.  The rest of the retention basin heads off about 500' to the left.

The main street bends off to the right of the fire hydrant towards the previous pic.

Judging by the fire hydrant, the sidewalk is about a foot underwater.  The street another half foot below that.  The basket ball rim suggests the sports court is about 4 feet deep and there are deeper parts of the park than that.  Some residents near the park reported 4" water in their homes.

Compared to many other parts of the country, 4-6 inches of rain over a couple hours is a normal summer rain shower, or just the opening bids of a hurricane.  But places like that have storm run off systems to deal with that kind of run-off on a regular basis.

This was one for the record books in these parts!

* IANAL and I haven't bothered to research the relevant ARS.  But it makes sense to me.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

YOW!!! I hope your home wasn't flooded!