Odile’s Winds Die Down, Flooding Threat on the Rise
Tropical Storm Odile is still spinning over the Mexican peninsula of Baja California, packing winds near 50-mph. The storm is tracking north-northwest, but it’s expected to take a more easterly turn by late Tuesday — taking Odile over northwestern Mexico and into south-central parts of Arizona.
And as the wind threat from Odile wans, the chance for flooding rains is on the rise.
Forecast models indicate significant amount of tropical moisture will surge northward through the next couple of days. The influx of atmospheric moisture will aid in the development of widespread shower and thunderstorm activity, which could bring as much as 3 to 7 inches of rain to parts of Arizona and New Mexico. Adding to an already impressive monsoon season in the Desert Southwest.
Just last week, Phoenix shattered a record for their wettest day ever — receiving more than 3.3 inches of rain in a 24-hour period. This is also one of the wettest Desert Southwest monsoon seasons in decades.
National Weather Service offices in Arizona, New Mexico and Nevada have already issued flash flood watches that cover a large part of the Desert Southwest. Many of the flash flood watches issued are active from Wednesday morning through Thursday evening.
If you live in locations like Tucson, Phoenix or Albuquerque, stay weather aware through the end of the week. Sudden, heavy downpours could lead to fast-onset flash flooding. If you see water over a roadway, it’s never advisable to try to cross. One foot of fast-moving water is enough to float a car downstream.
Odile’s Impact on Baja
Odile — once a Category 4 hurricane — roared ashore late Sunday night, local time, with winds greater than 115-mph. The fierce winds and pounding rains shook high-rise buildings, shattered windows and strew debris around the area.
Some images from social media showed damaged hotels, overturned vehicles and withered-looking palm trees; all an indication of the ferocity of the storm as it moved ashore.
According to a translated version of a Cabo San Lucas newspaper — Tribuna de Los Cabos — more thna 22,000 tourists rod out the storm in area hotels. Many of the hotels have significant damage and some of them could even be written off as a total loss. That said, all tourists were said to have been kept safe as the storm roared ashore.
At one point the main corridor to the tourist area was also partially closed, meaning vacationers that rode the storm out will have a difficult time getting out of the area in the near-term. Significant damage was also reported at the nearest international airport, but reports out of the area say flights should be able to resume soon.
Thankfully, at this point, there appear to have been no injuries or fatalities.
If you have loved ones visiting the area and are unable to contact them, the United States Consulate in Tijuana has set up a hotline for people to call. The number is 1-888-407-4747, or you can email at OdileEmergencyUSC@state.gov. Check out the State Department’s website for more.
Meteorologist Alan Raymond