Hurricane Rosa’s Legacy: 3 inches of Rain in North Phoenix

new river flooding
New River was running across Old Stage Road at 8 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2018. This road crossing in New River just north of New River Elementary. Photo: Flood Control District of Maricopa County

At one time a Category 4 hurricane in the Pacific, with top winds near 145 mph, Rosa’s comparatively calm but persistent remnants dumped 3 inches of rain in New River and near the Arroyo Grande neighborhood on the far west side of Anthem. The storm smashed a daily rainfall record in Phoenix, with 2.36 inches falling at Sky Harbor Airport on Oct. 2—the previous record for that date was 0.60 inches in 1981.

Given those statistics, we’ve added Rosa to our list of Top 10 Hurricanes That Have Affected Phoenix. Below are are some key facts and figures and some memorable photos and videos. First the totals:

rosa rainfall totals north phoenix

How Much Is That?

In an average year, Deer Valley Airport gets 10.76 inches of rain, with 0.76 inches of it typically falling in October. Anthem and New River, being near the mountains, tend to get more (Deer Valley Airport is at 1,478 feet of elevation; Anthem ranges from 1,760 to 2,428 feet). But because the history at these stations doesn’t go back very many years, the National Weather Service does not announce records for the area.


FIND OUT WHAT YOU'RE MISSING
North Phoenix Newsletter
Anthem Newsletter


So here’s how the storm shook out at Sky Harbor Airport, the Valley’s official recording station:

  • The Oct. 2, 2018 total at Sky Harbor (2.36 inches) was 8th most rain measured on any day since 1895 (the record: 3.3 inches on Sept. 8, 2014, as the remains of Hurricane Norbert rolled through).
  • Total rain for the first two days of October 2018 was 2.68 inches, making it already the 3rd wettest October on record (the wettest October: 4.4 inches in 1972).

Other big numbers: A whopping 7.24 inches landed in an official rain gauge near Crown King, northeast of Phoenix. Two gauges south of Shea Boulevard between Tatum Boulevard and Scottsdale Road each recorded 4.02 inches.

Note: All our previous stories about Rosa are here.

Big and Slow

Rosa’s impact was related in large part to its duration.

rosa satellite visible
Rosa’s northernmost clouds were over Arizona by mid-day Sunday, Sept. 30, while the center of the storm was well out to sea.

This radar loop shows Rosa’s moisture streaming into Arizona from 8 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 30 through 2 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 2 (Phoenix is near the center of the image):

How important was Rosa to our annual rainfall accumulation? Sky Harbor typically gets about 8.3 inches of rain a year, with a good chunk of that coming during monsoon. As of 4 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 2 at Sky Harbor:

Storm Videos

Storm Photos

flooding
A park in Amber Hills, a neighborhood just south of Tramonto, was flooded this morning. North Phoenix News Photo by Karen Goveia

Daisy Mountain in the rain at 7 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 2.
sunrise
The eastern sky at about 6:15 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 30, 2018, as Rosa first began to push some clouds into North Phoenix. In&Out Publications staff photo
Robert Roy Britt
NoPho resident Robert Roy Britt has written for In&Out publications since its inception in 2005. Britt began his journalism career in New Jersey newspapers in the early 1990s. He later became a science writer and was editor-in-chief of the online media sites Space.com and Live Science. He has written four novels. Email the author.
Robert Roy Britt on Email

Robert Roy Britt

NoPho resident Robert Roy Britt has written for In&Out publications since its inception in 2005. Britt began his journalism career in New Jersey newspapers in the early 1990s. He later became a science writer and was editor-in-chief of the online media sites Space.com and Live Science. He has written four novels. Email the author.

npneditor has 397 posts and counting.See all posts by npneditor