A potent monsoon storm dumped heavy rains and hail on the east side of Flagstaff, Arizona, on Tuesday — causing residents to break out the snow shovels a few months early.
According to the Arizona Daily Sun, so much hail fell that one resident reported that lawns still were white from piled-up hail on Wednesday. One resident reported that hail fell for 15 straight minutes during the storm.
About 30 homes reportedly encountered flooding or damage from the storm.
The combination of water, mud and hail clogged culverts and other drainage holes, reported Anthony Sockyma.
The stream had a four foot wall of hail pellets piled up against his rear fence, which he shares with several neighbors. The flood water was two feet deep at their back doors.
“All of a sudden, the water came down the hill and it was a downpour for a while,” Sockyma said. “The water couldn’t go anywhere else, so it just started coming through (my yard).”
Then, the Flagstaff Fire Department arrived with squeegees. The agency said that hail reached three to four feet deep in area throughout the east side, blocking traffic and moving sludgy mud and debris. Sockyma worked with the crews to get his belongings above the water as it moved through his back door and out the front. He and many of his neighbors escaped with little property damage, even though water entered their homes.
The situation in Flagstaff sounds eerily like the severe hailstorm that struck Santa Rosa, New Mexico, also in July last year. But that storm damaged hundreds of homes or businesses and forced highway departments to break out their snowplows for hail that was several feet deep. Santa Rosa marked its first anniversary of the storm just days ago.
(Screen capture of an Arizona Daily Sun video after the hail storm)