September 6th, 2007

hydrobear

Henriette and Nora

Yay! The remnants of Hurricane Henriette are heading for New Mexico! The outer rain bands are about 50 miles south of ABQ. I hope they make it up this far north. The forecast has the storm turning more eastward. We could sure use the rain.

I have fond memories of weathering Hurricane Nora 10 years ago when it passed over Yuma, AZ. It was just a tropical depression by the time it got there, but for a desert area, it was big news! I remember I was at a meeting in Salt Lake City at the time. I got permission to come back early so that I wouldn't be stranded by the storm. It was quite surreal to be driving back from the airport and seeing people filling sand bags. CNN had a truck in town. They were eager to see what a tropical storm would do to a desert community.

On the day of the storm we were told that we had to stay in the office. I pleaded with my boss to let me make eye-witness reports from the field so we knew how much water we could expect. He reluctantly agreed and off I went! It was great fun being out in the wind and rain. I took lots of pics of dry arroyos turning into raging torrents. I dutifully reported how much flow I estimated that would eventually reach the Colorado River. I eventually made it up to one of our reservoirs (after dodging flooded roads) and witnessed water gushing down a slot canyon that eventually reached the reservoir. The rain had stopped by this time. In actuality we only received 2-3" of rain. I was amazed at all of the crickets that seemed to be jumping around. I reached down and grabbed one and was floored to discover that they were not crickets but FROGS! These little suckers had been buried in the sand/mud for possibly YEARS and were now emerging for an orgy before the water dried up. It was an incredible sight! I made it back to town and CNN was packing up. They were pissed that the storm didn't materialize more. No death and destruction for you!

I know this sort of thing is old hat to my dear friends in Florida. To a hydrologist in the desert, this was a rare treat indeed.
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