It was just a week ago that Hurricane Herbert caused record flooding in parts of the US Southwest. Now residents of several US states in that region are being told to prepare themselves for a new flooding threat coming from tropical storm Odile. Hurricane Odile made landfall in Mexico a few days ago as a powerful, rain-soaking Category 3 hurricane that left a wake of destruction in its path. Even though the hurricane has weakened to a tropical storm, the system is still dumping huge amounts of water along its path, causing widespread flooding. The National Weather Service is warning people living in Tucson, Flagstaff, Phoenix, Albuquerque and El Paso to “be prepared to act quickly” as Odile is expected to bring heavy amounts of rain that could total up to six inches and even more.
Hurricane Odile slammed into Mexico’s Baja California peninsula Sunday with winds in excess of 120 miles per hour. The system dumped heavy rainfall, caused large destructive waves and damaged thousands of homes and businesses. Many structures impacted by the hurricane were completely demolished as residents and tourists alike fled for their lives. Tens of thousands of tourists had gone into local hotels and shelters to escape the wrath of the storm as scores of airline flights were canceled. Several famous mega-hotels were flooded with up to four feet of water as frightened guests took refuge in their rooms. Now hurricane-battered towns and villages in Mexico are dealing with widespread looting as people are rushing into stores to take whatever they can get their hands on.
The National Weather Service said Tuesday that the peak flood threat areas from Odile in the US are in central and southeast Arizona, southern New Mexico and portions of western Texas. The service also said that flash flooding is very possible for the Lower Colorado River Valley of southeastern California, southern Nevada, western Arizona, southern Utah, southwestern Colorado and northern New Mexico. People living in those areas are being told to keep an eye on local weather reports and warnings and to be ready to evacuate if told to do so by local authorities.
As Mexico’s government was busy airlifting thousands of stranded tourists out of the hurricane-ravaged resort of Los Cabos, residents of the US Southwest further north were preparing for severe weather coming from the same system. Many communities being forecast to be impacted by Odile are providing residents with sandbags. Odile is expected to reach Arizona Wednesday evening and strike hardest in the Tucson area even though forecaster say that Phoenix is also likely to become lashed by heavy rainfall and strong damaging winds.