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Heavy rains, severe winds wreak havoc on southwest states

Parts of the southwest are battered by monsoon storms that started in the last few days. “The rushing waters were so loud, you couldn’t hear anything else,” said Juan Pieda, a Benson, AZ citizen.

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Southwest States Are Devastated by Heavy Rain and Monsoon Winds

Timing: 02:16

A new wave of catastrophic monsoon storms is battering the southwest, causing anything from severe droughts to flooding. Juan Pieda, a resident of Benson, Arizona, claimed that the roaring waters were so loud that it was impossible to hear anything else. Sandbags are once more being filled in areas of the southwest that are still healing from the recent severe storms. According to Rob Howlett, who works with the National Weather Service in Tucson, “it’s certainly going to be one of the biggest events this season.” Nearly 10 million people are under the National Weather Service’s flash flood watch that was issued for the majority of Arizona, New Mexico, and El Paso, Texas. It will continue to rain at a rate of 1-2 inches per hour into Saturday night. According to Howlett, “the greatest concern” will be flash floods, which will occur as a result of the rapid and heavy rain that will overflow into our streams, washes, and city streets. It is difficult to forecast since, according to the National Weather Service, it is the residue of a tropical system that swept across Northern Mexico. There’s always going to be that uncertainty, the possibility of more rain or less rain, and there can even be a better case scenario, according to Howlett. First responders advise individuals to exercise common sense and avoid entering flood waters. We don’t want you to drive in those washes, said Dave Folio, a firefighter with the Scottsdale Fire Department. “It may look like the wash is standing water, but it’s actually running beneath,” he said. This week, a mine in Tombstone, Arizona, collapsed due to an abundance of rain. Monsoon rains in Southern Utah are exerting more pressure on this dam since it is unable to store the extra rainwater. When there is too much rain in a short period of time, dry, clay-rich soil can become hydrophobic, which means it doesn’t absorb water properly and causes immediate flooding. David Feldman is the director of Water UCI and a professor of urban planning and public policy at the University of California, Irvine. Feldman added, “We’re going for extended stretches without rain and then bang, we’ll get periods of very severe rainfall and flooding.” The U.S. drought monitor indicates that a sizable portion of the nation is still experiencing problems, but Arizona has improved due to significant rains. Three to five inches of rain could fall from Texas to Louisiana this weekend as the system moves east, increasing the risk of flash flooding in those regions.