Monday, August 31, 2009

Is Jimena another Octave?

Synchronicity strikes again! Honestly, I wasn't thinking of Hurricane Jimena, currently hurling itself at the Baja peninsula, when I posted a link about Arizona catching the leavings from Pacific hurricanes every few years. After reading Azlaydey's comment about the Skull Valley Store this morning, I thought about 1) how maybe it would be interesting to check out the the current situation and 2) how weird it all was when Octave's tailings landed here in back in 19aught83.

So there you have (above) the projected path of Jimena, as of 11:30 p.m. EDT Monday, courtesy of Wunderground. Pointing smack dab in our direction. However, Ken Clark, the Accuweather blogger, has this to say, what happens to Jimena past Wednesday [when it hits Baja]? The interaction between the land and cooler waters should quickly diminish the strength. But moisture will continue to spread north. What is not easily answered right now is how far north will that moisture get. Computer models are not that impressive with moisture over southeast California or Arizona on Thursday or Friday. They very well could be wrong. But one thing we have to consider is that there will still want to be a ridge in place between a storm moving through the Northwest and the remains of Jimena and that ridge may be over portions of southern California and Arizona blocking a lot of the northward advance of moisture.

There was nothing like such a protective ridge when Octave came our way. LH and I were living in Wilhoit the other side of the Prietas at the time. We slept soundly the night it arrived, unaware that there had been a major storm. Little did we realize as we drove up the winding road from Kirkland to Skull Valley the next morning that the road might not be there the next time we tried it -- or that the flash flood had undercut the railroad tracks on the other side of the big wash. Imagine our amazement when we arrived at the Skull Valley Cafe to be told that they weren't open, that there had been 14 inches of rain on the west side of Granite Mountain, and that there were a two or three of feet of mud in the Skull Valley Store , which had recently been bought by a young couple. They were wiped out, we were told.

And so we headed to Prescott, still hoping for breakfast. As we left Skull Valley and headed up into the hills, we hit a patch on the highway where it looked as though water had washed across at some point. Reality was that water, several inches deep, was still crossing the highway. Everywhere. The hillside was still draining. Once we arrived in Prescott, it was almost impossible to find an open restaurant because the gas mains had been shut for fear of a break. Also, we were told that Iron Springs Road had nearly been taken out by flooding on Willow Creek. The final blow from Octave was that a railroad bridge north of town was washed out; as a result, the Santa Fe decided it didn't have enough business to bother repairing the damage and Prescott was without rail service from that time forward. However, the track along Skull Valley Wash was quickly repaired; a good thing, too -- roads in the area were in such bad condition that the rancher at the Bar-U-Bar could only get out by hitching a ride into Skull Valley on the Santa Fe.

So we wait and see. In the meantime, we are finally getting some rain.


Anonymous said...

Wow, that's a truly amazing story. As I read your well-written account, I could see it all in my mind's eye as if it were a movie.

A scary movie!

Skull Valley must have taken quite awhile to dry out. Did the couple who had bought the SV Store rebuild?

~Anon in AV.

OmegaMom said...

I was wondering about the hooricane (though I didn't know its name until now) effect on y'all. Glad to hear you're getting "some" rain; let's hope it doesn't turn into "too much"!

Antipodean Curmudgeon said...

May you receive a minor deluge.


Steve said...

GJ, I have deleted my blogs, but I haven went away. Will set up a new one soon.

azlaydey said...

The Skull Valley Store was damaged but not destroyed. The Post Office never went back into the store. I was in the Ballew garage for over 3 months with a large coffee can for the john, until the USPS finally got a single wide trailer moved in, that was used until the new Post Office was built. I was promoted to Postmaster in Chino Valley a couple of weeks after the trailer was set up.

TomboCheck said...

And to think - I was going to go to mexico for the holiday weekend... time to re-think that.

:) Thanks for the info Julie!

Granny J said...

anon av -- for us, it was only scary after the fact; for the folks in Skull Valley, it was a major trauma. Tho the store remained standing, it was a total mess. BTW, I wasn't aware that it was the tail end of a hurricane until several years later.

dotter -- it looks as tho any really Big Rain will go east of us, but we should get a good drenching.

bro -- kind thought, Thanks.

steve -- why delete them. You should have left them up for folks who study squirrels, tho perhaps Google has copies on file.

lady -- I suppose that the new post office is a big improvement, but the old facility in the store really had character. But then I feel the same way about the PO in Kirkland. I loved those old tufa buildings.

tombo -- the storm should have passed through Mexico by this weekend, but I guess you would probably have to drive through it to get there. It's good to keep your eyes out for hurricanes at this time of year. In Arizona, yet.

Kathleen said...

Wow - missed this post somehow - very interesting. Made me think about all of the big storms in AZ that I remember. *whew*

Granny J said...

frame -- go back one post to my link to the Wikipedia article, which lists the hurricane remnants that have moved into Arizona over the years. That's something I would never imagined back in the Good Old Days.

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