Storm whacks Cochise County; 2 swept away, but they're OK

2012-07-18T00:00:00Z 2013-09-11T17:13:57Z Storm whacks Cochise County; 2 swept away, but they're OKDoug Kreutz Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
July 18, 2012 12:00 am  • 

A major monsoon storm walloped Sierra Vista and other Cochise County areas Monday evening - sweeping two people away in a wall of water and leaving some roads and washes flooded early Tuesday.

The two caught in the flash flood survived with injuries that were not life-threatening, said a Cochise County sheriff's spokeswoman.

"The rain was coming down in sheets - blowing rain and wind" that continued off and on for several hours, said Paul Cimino, fire marshal with the Sierra Vista Fire Department. "I don't know the wind speed, but trees were bending pretty good in the wind."

Damage in Sierra Vista appeared to be minimal, but outlying areas were hit with flooding, Cimino said.

"We've seen a few uprooted trees but no major property damage in Sierra Vista," he said. "South of Sierra Vista, I understand that some washes crested over roadways. That made for some tense moments."

CAUGHT IN THE FLOOD

A 22-year-old man and a 16-year-old girl went into a stream in Carr Canyon south of Sierra Vista and were carried away when floodwaters swept through, said Carol Capas, spokeswoman for the Sheriff's Office.

Capas said the man escaped the water and went for help.

Rescue teams eventually found the young woman on the side of the stream about an eighth of a mile downstream from where she was caught in the flood, Capas said.

The woman had cuts, abrasions and what appeared to be a mild case of hypothermia, but no serious injuries, Capas said. The man was taken to a medical facility for treatment.

CLOSURES

The Nature Conservancy's popular Ramsey Canyon Preserve south of Sierra Vista was closed Tuesday because of flooding from the storm.

Conservancy officials said the preserve would reopen when water subsides and the area is cleaned up.

Capas, of the Sheriff's Office, said roads closed by flooding included the Carr Canyon Road, Moson Road, Madera Road, Stoneridge Road and others.

Several stalled vehicles required assistance, Capas said.

CANYONS AT RISK

Several canyons in the Huachuca Mountains south of Sierra Vista were severely burned in last year's Monument Fire and are considered at risk for destructive flooding after heavy rain.

Rangers were in the field Tuesday to assess possible flooding effects in Miller Canyon and other fire-damaged areas, said Heidi Schewel, spokeswoman for the U.S. Forest Service.

Schewel said no details were immediately available because cellphone service in the mountains is "patchy" and efforts to reach the rangers Tuesday weren't successful.

Did You Know?

The Tucson International Airport, the official weather site for the city, has recorded 3.85 inches of rain so far during the 2012 monsoon.

This currently ranks as the second-wettest June 15-to-July 16 period on record, just shy of the record of 3.94 inches that occurred in 1919, the Tucson office of the National Weather Service posted on its website Tuesday.

Normal rainfall for June 15 to July 16 period in Tucson is 1.04 inches.

Source: National Weather Service, Tucson

Contact reporter Doug Kreutz at dkreutz@azstarnet.com or at 573-4192.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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