7/24/2013 6:01:00 AM Severe monsoon storms hit Quartzsite
Times photo/JOANNE WINER
Small wash going through Laz-e-daze RV Park running towards Tyson Wash.
Joanne Winer QUARTZSITE TIMES
QUARTZSITE - Those of you who watch Phoenix news channels have probably noticed for years that although Yuma, Parker and Lake Havasu are shown on the weather maps during that segment, Quartzsite is usually not listed on most news channels. This has seemed strange to some people, especially since for four-six months of the year Quartzsite is considered the third largest city in Arizona due to all the winter visitors and snowbirds that flock here every year to take in the swap meets and other great events being offered to people of all ages.
This past week, people started seeing Quartzsite on the weather maps for some of the news stations - Fox 10 and 12 news particularly had some coverage of the monsoon storms that were experienced this past week. The huge thunderstorms, complete with dust storms and lightning, came in a rush and left after creating a lot of damage all over the southern state, and even though Quartzsite did not get as much heavy rain as some places, the newscast the past few days have shown pictures of Tyson Wash running like a raging river due mostly because of the runoff rains from the mountains around town, especially the gullies and washes to the east of town where they run into Tyson Wash and go straight through town and out the north end.
Tyson Wash is the biggest wash in town and most of the year it is totally dry - but not so during monsoon season. The raging waters can sweep down this wash and drag all kinds of debris along the way, filling the drains with garbage and plant materials that cause more flooding because the water cannot get past it fast enough. It is quite a sight to see it from the bridge on Main Street as it comes past Tyson Wells Showgrounds and under Main Street, and also at Tyson Drive where it crosses into the desert. Barriers had to be put up to keep people from driving through the water - even though it is not very high by some standards, the undercurrent can cause your vehicle to stall and get swept away.
Please be aware of the dangers you might face during this monsoon season. Carry plenty of drinking water in your vehicle in case you get stranded and do not ever cross a running wash - even two feet of water can sweep a truck away, and if you are on foot, you could end up a long way from where you went in.
There is a stupid motorist law in this state that costs you a lot of money if you refuse to obey the signs and try to cross a wash and get stuck. This is in place to prevent people from doing the stupid thing and having to have emergency crews come to the rescue, taking them away from other emergencies and putting their lives at risk by someone who acted without thinking of the consequences.
We have been in drought conditions in this area of the state for many years, and this rain and these monsoon storms are very welcome to help provide much needed water to our parched desert. Just be aware of the dangers when these huge storms come through and use caution if you have to drive in it.
If the storms cause any power outages, the Quartzsite Senior Citizens Center has a backup generator and will be getting emergency supplies in -there may be other cooling places setting up as well -you can check with Town Hall for more information at 928-927-4333.