Parker, AZ

Fast Facts

Founded: 1908 Population: 3,083 Time Zone: -7
Latitude: 34.15 N Longitude: 114.29 W Altitude: 423 ft
Average High: 88 Average Low: 58 Annual Precipitation: 5.17


Parker, AZ, is located in La Paz County, Arizona and is the county seat. The town was named after Ely Parker, the first Native American commissioner for the U.S. government. The town was surveyed and laid out by Earl. H. Parker in 1909. It is located on the Colorado River in Parker Valley near Arizona's boarder with California. The town has a total area of 22.0 square miles and its population in July 2009 was 3,120.[Ref]

  U.S. Census Quick Facts about La Paz County, Arizona.

  Census Reporter Demographic Profile about Parker, AZ.


    Page Index
 ◊  History of: Parker, AZ
 ◊  History of AZ
 ◊  Weather data for Parker, AZ
 ◊  Historic Weather Events for AZ

History [a]

  • 1871, January 6; A post office is established on the Colorado River Indian reservation to serve the Indian agency.
  • 1905; A railroad reaches the area of the Parker Post Office. The Post office is moved upstream four miles to the railroad.
  • 1908; The town of Parker is founded and named for Ely S. Parker, the first Native American commissioner for the U.S. government.
  • 1909; Railroad location engineer, Earl H. Parker, surveys and lays out the town of Parker. The town is laid out for the purpose of providing a railroad stopover, watering and shipping station.
  • 1928; Parker Dam is completed.
  • 1937; A highway bridge was completed across the Colorado River connecting Arizona to California.
  • 1948; Parker is officially incorporated as a town.
  • 1982, May; voters petition to form La Paz County from the northern portion of Yuma County.
  • 1983, January 1; Parker became the county seat for La Paz County.
  • 2000; Population 3,140.
  • 2009; Population 3,120.
  • 2010; Population 3,083.

For more information about the History of Parker, Arizona, visit the following sites:


  1. Parker, AZ, History   [Online]
      •Wikipedia - Parker, Arizona   [Online],_Arizona

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State History

Ancient times[2]


1500 - 1699



1700 - 1899



1900 - 1999


  • 1906, December 8; The Petrified Forest National Monument is created.[Ref]
  • 1906, December 8; Montezuma Castle is designated a National Monument. [Ref]
  • 1907; the Kaibab Paiute Indian Reservation was established.[Ref]
  • 1909, March 20; The Navajo National Monument is created. The monument is high on the Shonto plateau, overlooking the Tsegi Canyon system, west of Kayenta, Arizona.[Ref]
  • 1911; The Roosevelt Dam project is completed. Construction began on the 357 feet (109 m) high dam in 1903. The dam is located on the Salt River near Roosevelt, Arizona.[Ref]
  • 1912, Feb. 14; Arizona became the 48th State on Valentine's Day.[Ref ]
  • 1914; Women in Arizona are given the right to vote, years before the rest of the country.
  • 1914, March 16; Construction began on the Pennsylvania-class battleship USS Arizona (BB-39). The Arizona was commissioned on October 17, 1916. The Arizona was 608 ft long, had a beam of 97 ft, had a speed of 21 knots and a range of 8,000 nmi. Her main armament was 4 x 3 - 14-inch/45 guns with a secondary armament of 22 x 1 5-inch/51 guns and 4 x 1 - 3-inch/50 AA guns.
  • 1914 - 1918 The First World War. [More Information]
  • 1915, Nov 30; Walnut Canyon National Monument is created.[Ref]
  • 1916 to 1941; The battleship USS Arizona (BB-39) was a Pennsylvania-class battleship, commissioned on October 17, 1916. During World War I, the Arizona rarely ventured into the ocean for fear of U-boats, and when she did, it was only in the company of other battleships and escort ships. The Arizona was sunk at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. During the attack, a bomb hit in the vicinity of Turret II, likely penetrating the armored deck near the ammunition magazines located in the forward section of the ship. About seven seconds after the hit, the forward magazines detonated in a cataclysmic explosion. Of the 1,512 men on board the Arizona, 1,177 were killed. She was decommissioned on December 29, 1941 and is now a War Memorial. The remains of the Arizona still lie on the bottom of Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial, dedicated on 30 May 1962 to all those who died during the attack, straddles the ship's hull.[Ref]
    • Laid down: March 16, 1914
    • Displacement: 29,158 long tons (29,626 tons)
    • Length: 608 ft
    • Speed: 21 kn (24 mph)
    • Armament:
      • 4 x 3 - 14-inch/45 guns
      • 22 x 1 - 5-inch/51 guns
      • 4 x 1 - 3-inch/50 AA guns
      • 2 x 21 inch (533 mm) torpedo tubes
    • Launched: June 19, 1915
    • Commissioned: October 17, 1916
    • Decommissioned: December 29, 1941
  • 1917; Murder/rape suspect Starr Daley is lynched near the Superstition Mountains after a chase through Tempe and Mesa, Arizona.
  • 1918: Flu Epidemic infected 500 million people across the world, and killed 50 to 100 million. (see 1918 flu pandemic for more information.)[Ref]
  • 1919; Angry over the lack of jobs, white mobs attack people of color in the booming mining town of Bisbee.
  • 1919, Feb. 26; Grand Canyon National Park was established.
  • 1922; Ground is broken for the 113,000-square-foot Mormon Temple in Mesa.
  • 1922; Architect Mary Colter designs Phantom Ranch buildings at the bottom of the Grand Canyon
  • 1923, May 31; Pipe Spring National Monument is Created. The water of Pipe Spring has made it possible for plants, animals, and people to live in this dry desert region.[Ref]
  • 1924, June 2; Congress passes the Indian Citizenship Act, confering citizenship on Native Americans born within the territorial limits of the United States.[Ref].
  • 1926; Passing through Phoenix with a lady friend, Babe Ruth puts on a home run show for some kids near a cotton field.
  • 1927; César Chávez is born in Yuma, Arizona.
  • 1928; Construction begins on Tovrea Castle in Phoenix.
  • 1928; Leone Jensen jumps from the roof of the Hotel San Carlos in Phoenix and supposedly starts haunting the establishment.
  • 1929; The Detroit Tigers hold the first-ever spring training camp in the Phoenix's, Arizona.[Ref]
  • 1929 - 1940; The Great Depression and New Deal.
    • The beginning of the Great Depression in the United States is associated with the stock market crash on October 29, 1929, known as Black Tuesday. The depression had devastating effects in both the industrialized countries and those which exported raw materials.
    • 1933; The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) is created as part of the The New Deal to develop resources of poor Appalachian South.
    • The New Deal is the title President Franklin D. Roosevelt gave to a sequence of programs and promises he initiated between 1933 and 1938 with the goal of giving relief, reform and recovery to the people and economy of the United States during the Great Depression.
  • 1930, Feb 18; Astronomer Clyde Tombaugh discovers Pluto at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, AZ.
  • 1930, February 21; Killer Eva Dugan loses her head, literally, during her execution by hanging in Florence, Arizona.
  • 1930, May 26; Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument is established.[Ref]
  • 1931, September 18; Japan invades Manchuria.
  • 1932, Feb 8; Infamous "trunk murderess" Winnie Ruth Judd is convicted of murdering her friends Agnes Anne LeRoi and Hedvig Samuelson.[Ref]
  • 1935, Sept. 30; The Hoover Dam is dedicated. Ninety-six people had died during its construction. The dam is 726.4 feet high, 1,244 feet long and has a volume of 3,250,000 cubic yards. The dam was constructed between 1931 and 1936 during the Great Depression.
  • 1935; The Soviet Union declares that the fascist states of Germany and Japan are the enemies.
  • 1935, October 3; The Second Italo-Abyssinian War. Italian armed forces from Eritrea invaded Ethiopia without a declaration of war. In response Ethiopia declares war on Italy. On October 7, the League of Nations declared Italy to be the aggressor, and started the slow process of imposing limited sanctions on Italy.
  • 1937, December 13 - January 1938; The Nanking Massacre was a mass murder (50,000-300,000 dead) and mass rape committed by Japanese troops against the residents of Nanjing (Nanking), then the capital of the Republic of China, during the Second Sino-Japanese War. [Ref]
  • 1939 - 1945 World War II. [More Information]
  • 1948; A UFO reportedly crashes at the foot of Squaw Peak in Phoenix.
  • 1948; Native Americans in Arizona win the right to vote.
  • 1948; Phoenix Street Railway, launched in 1887, stops service.[Ref]
  • 1950 - 1953; The Korean War is fought in Korea.
  • 1952; Ronald and Nancy Reagan honeymoon at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix.
  • 1953; Phoenix desegregates its public schools.
  • 1953; The first McDonald's franchise in the country opens on Central Avenue in Phoenix.
  • 1953; Police conduct a raid on polygamists in Colorado City, Arizona.
  • 1954; U.S. Supreme Court decides in Brown v. Board of Education, Topeka that "separate" schools cannot be "equal." This paved the way for desegregation and the civil rights movement.
  • 1954; The Wallace and Ladmo Show premieres on KPHO-TV.
  • 1955; Oklahoma! (the movie) is filmed in Arizona.
  • 1960; Developer Del Webb debuts Sun City, and 100,000 shows up for the opening ceremonies. The story makes the cover of Time.
  • 1963, June 29; Legend City amusement park opens on Van Buren Street in Phoenix, the park closes permanently after the 1983 season.
  • 1964; U.S. Senator Barry Goldwater runs for president, loses.
  • 1964, April 29; Hohokam Pima National Monument is designated a National Historic Landmark. The Hohokam Pima National Monument is on land belonging to the Gila River Indian Community and is not open to the public. [Ref]
  • 1967; The Monkees horse around in Phoenix, performing at Veterans Memorial Coliseum during their first tour.
  • 1968; The Phoenix Suns hit the court for the first time. (A year later, the Suns lost a coin toss for the chance to draft Lew Alcindor, not yet known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.)
  • 1968; Rennie's London Bridge moved from England, to Lake Havasu City, Arizona. (see London Bridge (Lake Havasu City))
  • 1969; Big Surf, the nation's first wave pool, opens in Tempe, AZ.
  • 1970; New Times is founded in Tempe, AZ.
  • 1970; Construction on Paolo Soleri's futuristic Arcosanti begins near Cordes Junction, 70 miles (110 km) north of Phoenix.
  • 1970; Fountain Hills' namesake water feature becomes the world's tallest fountain, holding that distinction for more than a decade.
  • 1971; "Trunk murderess" Winnie Ruth Judd freed from custody for the final time.
  • 1974; Gary Tenen and Randall Tufts discover Kartchner Caverns in southern Arizona.
  • 1975; Ruby the "painting pachyderm" becomes a Phoenix Zoo phenomenon.
  • 1975; The nation's first drive-thru McDonald's opens in Sierra Vista.[Ref]
  • 1976; U.S. Representative Mo Udall runs for president, loses.
  • 1976, June 13; Arizona Republic reporter Don Bolles dies after a bomb detonates in his Toyota in a Central Phoenix parking lot.
  • 1976, Jan 31; Ernesto "Miranda Rule" Miranda is murdered near the future site of Chase Field in Phoenix.
  • 1978; NBC airs the movie A Fire in the Sky, featuring a comet that annihilates Phoenix.
  • 1978, Juine 29; Hogan's Heroes star Bob Crane is murdered in Scottsdale, AZ, following a dinner theater performance.
  • 1981; Sandra Day O'Connor becomes the first female U.S. Supreme Court Justice.
  • 1981; Arizona becomes first state west of the Mississippi to authorize a lottery.
  • 1991; The Central Arizona (water) Project is completed.
  • 1994, October 14; Saguaro National Park is established.[Ref]


2000 - 2009



2010 - 2019


  • 2010; Arizona enacted strict immigration bill.
  • 2011     Apr 28, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed a bill designating the colt Single-Action Army revolver as the state’s first official firearm. Brewer also signed a bill authorizing the construction of a fence along the state's portion of the US-Mexico border, either with other states or by itself. He also signed a bill approving special new license plates, including a “Don’t Tread On Me" slogan to commemorate the Tea Party.    (SFC, 4/29/11, p.A7)(AP, 4/29/11)(SFC, 4/30/11, p.A6)
  • 2011     May 26, The US Supreme Court upheld Arizona’s “business death penalty," saying Arizona may deny employers a license to do business for a 2nd violation of its Legal Arizona Workers Act of 2007.    (SFC, 5/27/11, p.A13)
  • 2011    May 29, In Arizona a fire began in the Apache Sitgreaves National Forest. It soon became the largest fire in the state’s history. In August federal charges were filed against Caleb Joshua Malbeouf (26) and David Wayne Malbeouf (24) for leaving a campfire unattended.    (SFC, 8/25/11, p.A4)
  • 2011    Jun 5, The third worst forest fire in Arizona’s history continued to burn, affecting more than 225 square miles and causing many nearby residents to evacuate their homes. By June 8 the fire grew to nearly 486 square miles. Authorities believed it was started by an unattended campfire.(AP, 6/5/11)(SFC, 6/7/11, p.A5)(SFC, 6/8/11, p.A11)
  • 2011   Jun 12, In Arizona a fire broke out near Sierra Vista. The Monument Fire soon forced 2,600 people to flee their homes and by June 20 had consumed 44 homes.    (SFC, 6/20/11, p.A6)
  • 2011   Jun 14, The Wallow Fire in eastern Arizona has now burned more than 733 square miles, and is about to become the largest wildfire in state history.            (AP, 6/14/11)
  • 2011   Jul 5, In Arizona a monster dust storm moved through the state halting airline flights and knocking out power to nearly 10,000 people. (SFC, 7/7/11, p.A7)
  • 2011  Sep 1, Mexican police found a tunnel was found in the border city of Nogales, across the border from Nogales, Arizona. It was presumably used to smuggle people into the US. Police found it acting on information they received after discovering another tunnel in Nogales on Aug. 16.    (AP, 9/5/11)
  • 2011   Sep 8, A power blackout hit the southwest affecting 5 million people in Baja California, southern California, Arizona and parts of Sonora. It was caused by a utility worker making a routine repair in Yuma, Az. Most power was restored within 12 hours.    (
  • 2011   Oct 31, Mexican soldiers seized 2 catapults and 1.4 tons (1.3 metric tons of marijuana) during a raid in Agua Prieta, across the border from Douglas, Arizona.    (AP, 11/1/11)
  • 2012   Jul 12, The Mexican army found an incomplete tunnel in a Tijuana warehouse with more than 40 tons of marijuana at the entry. The passage extended nearly 400 yards, including more than 100 yards into the United States. It was the second, major incomplete tunnel discovered in the San Diego-Tijuana area in two days and the third along the US-Mexico border since July 9, when a completed passage was found in a vacant strip mall storefront in the southwestern Arizona city of San Luis.    (AP, 7/13/12)
  • 2012   Aug 1, A US federal appeals court blocked an Arizona law that would set the nation’s tightest restrictions on midterm abortions banning them at 20 weeks except in medical emergencies.    (SFC, 8/2/12, p.A6)
  • 2012   Sep 5, A US federal judge ruled that Arizona authorities can enforce the most contentious section of the state's heavily debated immigration law, regarding a section of the statute that critics have dubbed the "show me your papers" provision.    (AP, 9/5/12)
  • 2012   Dec 27, Mexican authorities discovered a sophisticated smuggling tunnel, as long as a football field, equipped with electricity and ventilation not far from the Nogales port of entry into Arizona.    (AP, 12/28/12)
  • 2013   Jun 30, In Arizona 19 firefighters of an elite crew fighting a forest fire northwest of Phoenix were overtaken and killed by a fast-moving blaze stoked by hot winds. The Yarnell Hill Fire also destroyed some 200 homes. On Dec 4 a state commission approved a nearly $650,000 fine against the state Forestry Division after investigators found that officials had put protection of property ahead of safety.(AP, 7/1/13)(SFC, 12/5/13, p.A8)
  • 2013   Jul 22, American TV and film actor Dennis Farina (69) died in Scottsdale, Arizona. His films included “Manhunter" (1986), “"Midnight Run" (1988), “Saving Private Ryan" (1998), “Out of Sight" (1998) and “Get Shorty" (1995). From 2004-2006 he played Detective Joe Fontana on the TV show “Law & Order."    (SFC, 7/23/13, p.C3)
  • 2013   Nov 24, US media reported that a major winter storm that has dumped freezing rain and snow in the US southwest has killed at least 13 people in Arizona (1), California (3), Oklahoma (4), New Mexico (1) and Texas (4).    (AFP, 11/245/13)
  • 2014   Jun 7, Arizona officials said the US government has asked them to rush medical supplies to a makeshift holding center housing hundreds of migrant children who were sent to the state after crossing into the US from Mexico alone. Jimena Díaz, consul general of Guatemala in Phoenix, visited the center a day earlier and said about 250 children are from Guatemala, with the rest coming from El Salvador and Honduras.    (AP, 6/7/14)
  • 2014   Sep 8, Torrential rains drenched much of the US Southwest, prompting flash-flood warnings across four states and taking the lives of two women washed away in separate incidents in Arizona.    (Reuters, 9/8/14)
  • 2014   Sep 26, In Arizona the Navajo Nation held a signing ceremony for a $554 million settlement of a 2006 lawsuit over federal government mismanagement of tribal resources.    (SFC, 9/26/14, p.A6)
  • 2015   Jan 15, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed a law requiring students to pass a US citizenship test in order to get a high school diploma. This was the nation’s first such requirement.    (SFC, 1/17/15, p.A6)
  • 2015   Apr 10, Raul Hector Castro (98), former US ambassador and Arizona governor (1975-1977), died in San Diego.    (SFC, 4/11/15, p.A6)
  • 2015   May 2, Writer Michael Blake (69) died in Tucson, Az. His novel "Dances With Wolves" became a major hit movie and earned him an Academy Award for the screenplay.    (AP, 5/4/15)
  • 2016   Jun 3, US boxing champion Muhammad Ali (74) died  in a hospital in Phoenix after a 32-year battle with Parkinson's disease.    (AFP, 6/4/16)(SFC, 6/4/16, p.A1)
  • 2017   Jun 28, In Arizona a wildfire around the mountain city of Prescott forced thousands of people from their homes as it charred 32 square miles.    (SFC, 6/29/17, p.A7)
  • 2017   Aug 22, President Donald Trump opened his political rally in Phoenix with calls for unity and an assertion that "our movement is about love."    (AP, 8/23/17)
  • 2017   Sep 20, The US Fish and Wildlife Service announced an endangered species designation for the Sonoyta mud turtle, citing threats from climate change to loss of habitat for the southern Arizona animal, whose numbers are believed to have dwindled to as low as 100 turtles.    (AP, 9/24/17)
  • 2018   Mar 18, In Arizona an Uber car operating in autonomous mode struck Elaine Herzberg (49) in Tempe, who soon died of her injuries at a local hospital. This was believed to be the first pedestrian fatality involving a self-driving car. Uber soon suspended autonomous testing in Tempe, Pittsburgh, Toronto and San Francisco. Uber later announced plans to end all autonomous-car testing in California.    (SFC, 3/20/18, p.A1)(SFC, 3/28/18, p.A1)(SFC, 3/30/18, p.C1)
  • 2018   Apr 6, The US states of Texas and Arizona announced plans to send National Guard troops to the southern border with Mexico after President Donald Trump ordered a thousand-strong deployment to combat drug trafficking and illegal immigration.    (AFP, 4/7/18)
  • 2018   Apr 27, In Arizona a wildfire began near the town of Clints Well. By April 30 it had swelled to more than 13 square miles.    (SFC, 5/1/18, p.A5)
  • 2018   Aug 25, Arizona Sen. John McCain (81), a legend in American politics, died at his home in Sedona.    (AP, 8/26/18)

For more information about the of Arizona, visit the following sites:

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Parker, AZ Weather Information

Monthly average highs and low temperatures and the average amount of precipitation for Parker, AZ.
Data from Parker Weather station, 0.47 miles from Parker.

Month Jan. Feb. March April May June July Aug. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dec. Annual
Avg. High 67.4 ° 72.8 ° 78.8 ° 87.1 ° 95.3 ° 104.6 ° 108.4 ° 106.7 ° 101.2 ° 90 ° 76 ° 67.3 ° 88 °
Avg. Low 40.7 ° 44.6 ° 48.7 ° 54.2 ° 62.7 ° 70.7 ° 77.9 ° 77.8 ° 71.2 ° 59.2 ° 47.2 ° 40.5 ° 58 °
Mean 54.1 ° 58.7 ° 63.8 ° 70.7 ° 79 ° 87.7 ° 93.2 ° 92.3 ° 86.2 ° 74.6 ° 61.6 ° 53.9 ° 73 °
Avg. Prec. 0.87 in 0.7 in 0.65 in 0.17 in 0.09 in 0.02 in 0.27 in 0.61 in 0.57 in 0.32 in 0.33 in 0.57 in 5.17 in

The climate in Parker, AZ, is very hot and dry. During the summer temperatures tend to be in the 100's and cool during winter when temperatures tend to be in the 40's. The yearly mean is 73.0°Fahrenheit.

The warmest month of the year is July with an average maximum temperature of 108.4° Fahrenheit, while the coldest month of the year is December with an average minimum temperature of 40.50°Fahrenheit.

Temperature variations between night and day tend to be relatively large during summer with a difference that can reach 30° Fahrenheit, and moderate during winter with an average difference of 27°Fahrenheit.

Rainfall is fairly evenly distributed throughout the year. The wettest month of the year is January with an average rainfall of 0.87 inches. The annual average precipitation at Parker is 5.17 inches.[1]

Climate Classification:

The climate in Parker, AZ, is classified as hot desert climate (BWh) by the Köppen-Geiger system.

Hot desert climates (BWh) are typically found under the subtropical ridge in the lower middle latitudes often between 20 and 33 north and south latitude. In these locations, stable descending air and high pressure aloft create hot, arid, conditions with intense sunshine. Hot desert climates are generally hot, sunny and dry year-round. Hot desert climates are found across vast areas of North Africa, the Middle East, northwestern parts of the Indian Subcontinent, interior Australia, and smaller areas of the Southwestern United States, and Chile. This makes hot deserts present in every continent except Europe and Antarctica. [Ref]

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Historical Weather data

AZ Notable Severe Weather Events

" Arizona lies in a transitional region of general atmospheric circulation. The circumpolar Jetstream and associated frontal systems embedded within the general westerly air flow affect the climate in winter. In summer, large subtropical high-pressure cells over the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans move northward and are affected by strong surface heating over the desert. Shifts in these major atmospheric circulation features caused moisture sources to shift from the Pacific Ocean in winter to mostly the Gulf of Mexico in summer. The moisture supply generally is small because Arizona is close to the semi-permanent subtropical high-pressure zone."

" In addition to the oceans, important moisture sources include local and upwind land surfaces, as well as lakes and reservoirs, from which moisture evaporates into the atmosphere. Typically, as a moisture-laden ocean air mass. "

" In a typical year, one-half of Arizona receives less than 10 inches of precipitation in about equal quantities during summer and winter. Atypical years, however, are not rare in semiarid regions like Arizona; some years are exceedingly wet, and others are very dry. Annual precipitation in Arizona increases with altitude. Most of the Central Highlands and some mountain tops in the Basin and Range Lowlands receive more than 25 inches of annual precipitation. "

" Beginning in July, surges of moisture move into Arizona from the south and southeast. Local convective cells develop over the hot desert floor and produce intense thunderstorms. In addition, orographic storms develop as moist air rises to cross mountain ranges in the Central Highlands and the Basin and Range Lowlands. Rainfall increases sharply in the eastern one-half of Arizona from July to September, and in some years the seasonal total can exceed 15 inches. "

" During a typical winter, large-scale pressure ridges along the west coast of the United States initially produce clear and relatively calm weather in Arizona. As the circumpolar vortex of the northern latitudes expands southward from January to March, Arizona's weather can be affected by frontal systems that move along the Pacific Coast from extreme northern locations or by those that move directly eastward across the State from the Pacific Ocean. The most southerly of these storms can draw large quantities of moist tropical air into Arizona; precipitation patterns during such storms commonly show strong orographic effects. Precipitation from winter storms occurs primarily in the Central Highlands and the western one-half of the State. Snowfall is an important component of precipitation at altitudes above 4,000 feet. "

" From April to June and October to December, the weather is normally clear and calm, and there is little precipitation. Infrequently, however, record-setting precipitation quantities and intensities occur during the fall. Tropical cyclones can transport large quantities of moisture and produce intense precipitation in the southern and central parts of the State, generally from August through October (Smith. 1986). A large quantity of precipitation also may result when a low pressure system becomes separated from the general atmospheric circulation and remains over Arizona for several days. " [Ref] pp 181-182

For more information about the climate:


"Arizona streams technically are under drought conditions 60 to 80 percent of the time, and individual droughts commonly last as long as 5 years. Drought is defined as an extended period of less than average streamflow. The streams in Arizona have short periods of large discharge and long periods of small discharge, which make “average streamflow” larger than the rates that water users ordinarily have available. Stream channels in the deserts of the Basin and Range Lowlands are ordinarily dry and contain no useful water. Arizona's Central Highlands receive more precipitation than the lowlands and maintain perennial streamflow in large basins (Brown and others, 1981). Reservoirs have been constructed on most major perennial streams in Arizona to hold and distribute floodwater or spring snowmelt for use in the desert. These reservoirs decrease the effects of short-term droughts, but because of the extensive development of agriculture, industry, and cities in the desert, a prolonged drought can affect a large population."[Ref] pp 183, 185-186


Drought Severity Classification


Category Description Possible Impacts Palmer Drought Index CPC Soil
Moisture Model
USGS Weekly Streamflow
Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI) Objective Short and Long-term Drought Indicator Blends (Percentiles)
D0 Abnormally
Going into drought: short-term dryness slowing planting, growth of crops or pastures. Coming out of drought: some lingering water deficits;  pastures or crops not fully recovered -1.0 to -1.9 21-30 21-30F -0.5 to -0.7 21-30
D1 Moderate Drought Some damage to crops, pastures; streams, reservoirs, or wells low, some water shortages developing or imminent; voluntary water-use restrictions requested -2.0 to -2.9 11-20 11-20 -0.8 to -1.2 11-20
D2 Severe
Crop or pasture losses likely;  water shortages common; water restrictions imposed -3.0 to -3.9 6-10 6-10 -1.3 to -1.5 6-10
D3 Extreme Drought Major crop/pasture losses;  widespread water shortages or restrictions -4.0 to -4.9 3-5 3-5 -1.6 to -1.9 3-5
D4 Exceptional Drought Exceptional and widespread crop/pasture losses; shortages of water in reservoirs, streams, and wells creating water emergencies -5.0 or less 0-2 0-2 -2.0 or less 0-2


  • 1900 - 1904; The north-east section of Arizona experienced a period of sever to extreme drought. In June of 1904, the entire state and much of New Mexico experiences an extreme draught.
  • 1931 - 1941; The American Midwest and the Canadian prairie are in the gripes of the Dust Bowl, or the Dirty Thirties. This period of severe dust storms, causes major ecological and agricultural damage. The Dust Bowl affected 100,000,000 acres and is centered on the panhandles of Texas and Oklahoma, and adjacent parts of New Mexico, Colorado, and Kansas. Many Americans migrated west looking for work and were often known as "Okies", since so many came from Oklahoma. Some residents of the Plains, especially in Kansas and Oklahoma fall ill and die of dust pneumonia or malnutrition. In most of the New Mexico the drought was severe and had a recurrence interval greater than 25 years. Nevertheless, no annual precipitation minimums were recorded at any weather station in the vicinity of the gaging stations during the 1931^41 drought. [src][src - p 411]
  • 1942-1964; This was the second most severe drought in 350 years, based on tree-growth records. The draught was statewide and had a recurrence interval greater than 100 years. The drought was interrupted temporarily at some gaging stations in 1949 and 1952. Reservoirs supplying the Phoenix area were replenished by high flows in 1952. At Rillito Creek near Tucson the drought of 1942-64 decreased recharge to ground water rather than decreasing usable surface water. In southeastern Arizona, the drought ended in the middle to late 1950's, but a new drought began in the early 1960's.
  • 1973-1977; The draught of 1973-1977 was statewide with a recurrence interval that ranged from about 15 to 35 years, depending on location. The most severe was in eastern Arizona. On the San Pcdro River at Charleston the 1973-77 period was the end of a longer drought that began in 1960.

Primary Source: NATIONAL WATER SUMMARY 1988-89 / Hydrologic Events and Floods and Droughts [PDF] pp 183, 185-186


For more information:


Enhanced Fujita Scale


The following statistics where compiled from "The Tornado Project" for the time period of 1952-11-14 - 2014-09-27.

Intensity Number Fatalities
F0 124 0
F1 63 1
F2 16 2
F3 3 0
F4 0 0
F5 0 0


Between 1952-11-14 - 2014-09-27 Arizona has had 237 tornadoes killing 3 people and injuring 147 people. The greatest loss of live occurred on Aug 27, 1964, when an EF2 touched down in Tucson at 12:16 pm killing 2 and injuring 9. [Ref]

  • 1957, August 04; An F3 tornado in Maricopa County caused $2,500 in damages. [Ref]
  • 1959, August 17; An F2 tornado in Yuma County injured 1 and caused $250,000 in damages.[Ref]
  • 1964, August 27; An F2 tornado in Tucson caused 2 deaths injured 9 and caused $25,000 in damages.[Ref]
  • 1968, July 04; An F2 tornado in Phoenix injured 2 and caused $25,000 in damages.[Ref]
  • 1968, October 03; An F2 tornado in Phoenix injured 3 and caused $25,000 in damages.[Ref]
  • 1971, September 14; An F2 tornado in Phoenix caused $25,000 in damages.[Ref]
  • 1972, June 21; An F2 tornado in Maricopa County damaged several buildings in Akchin. The tornado moved northwards where it overturned several house trailers injuring 5. Damage estimates totaled $25 Million.[Ref]
  • 1972, August 10; An F3 tornado in Yavapai County, north of Prescott, caused $300 in damages. [Ref]
  • 1974, June 23; An F1 tornado damaged a trailer park about 9 miles from downtown Tucson. One man was killed and 40 were injured. Damages were estimated to be $250,000. [Ref]
  • 1992, October 24; An F2 tornado in Coconino County near Flagstaff caused $25,000 in damages. [Ref]
  • 1993, January 17; An F2 tornado in Maricopa County near the Scottsdale Airport caused 5 million in damages. Eighteen homes sustained damage, 4 with major damage. The tornado moved east from 59th and Clinton to 72nd and Cholla. [Ref]
  • 2010, October 5-6; The October 2010 Arizona tornado outbreak produced 8 tornadoes in Arizona on October 6, making it the largest single-day tornado-event in Arizona's history. The storm was caused by a strong low pressure center over California that pushed abundant moisture over Arizona producing widespread thunderstorms with numerous severe storms. Strong vertical wind shear, with helicity in the 400-450 range, provided an environment for supper cell development. The storms were accompanied by strong winds and large hail.[Ref] There were 8 confirmed tornadoes, 2 EF0, 1 EF1, 4 EF2 and 1 EF3. These storms injured 9 and caused an estimated $2.812 Billion in damages.[Ref]
  • 2011, September 1; An EF2 tornado in Coconino County near Flagstaff caused significant damage in the forest along the Humpherys Trail near the Snowbowl Ski Area around 10,000 feet elevation.[Ref]

For more information:

Hurricanes / Tropical cyclone


Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale
Category 1 Category 2 Category 3 Category 4 Category 5
Related classifications
Tropical storm Tropical depression
Rollover for details




  • 1921, August 20; The remnants of an unnamed tropical cyclone tracked northward into western Arizona from central Baja California generating rainfall of up to 2 inches in the deserts and southern mountains of southern California on the 20th and 21st. This occurred during the La Niña of 1920-21.[Ref]
  • 1921, September 25-30; An unnamed tropical storm crossed the Baja California peninsula southwest of Yuma and moved up the Colorado River Valley. Several stations along the Colorado River reported in excess of three inches of rain, including 3.65 inches at Yuma. Other amounts included 1.50 at Flagstaff, 1.24 at Prescott, 0.68 at Tucson, and 0.56 at Phoenix.
  • 1926, September 20-25; An unnamed tropical storm moved into the Gulf of California and came ashore on the western coast of Mexico. Over five inches of rain fell in extreme southeast Arizona in the vicinity of Douglas.
  • 1927, September 7-12; An unnamed hurricane moved into the Gulf of California and came ashore on the western coast of Mexico. One to two inches of rain was reported over much of Arizona.
  • 1929, June; The Atlantic hurricane reanalysis project discovered that a rare Atlantic hurricane reached the eastern part of Arizona as a tropical depression. Damage from this storm, if any, is unknown.
  • 1932, September 27-29; A tropical cyclone which began south of Tehuantepec on September 25, caused destructive rains in the Tehachapi mountains of southern California. This cyclone remained 60 to 120 miles (100 to 200 km) offshore until it reached the head of the Sea of Cortez on the 29th and dissipated in the southwestern desert. 0n the last three days of September, Truxton, Arizona, had 2.27 inches of rain, Fort Mojave 2.32, and Payson 1.50 inches. In California, Tehachapi had 4.38 inches in 19 hours, but Los Angeles had only 0.14 and Santa Barbara 0.11 inches. [Ref p14]
  • 1935, August 22; An unnamed tropical storm caused above normal rainfall in practically all sections of the state resulting from a moist flow of air from out of the south augmented by a tropical storm that hit the coast of southern California. In Santa Marguerita, 4.10 inches occurred in about an hour and a half on the 22nd and a total of 9.09 inches fell during the month. The heavy rains resulted in numerous flash floods in ordinarily dry washes which caused considerable loss of life and property. On the 31st, flood waters overwhelmed sections of the Rillito Valley and significant damage occurred at other localities between Tucson and Nogales. This storm produced flood peaks of 13,400 ft3/s and 10,300 ft3/s on Rillito Creek and the Santa Cruz River at Tucson, respectively. August 1935 was the wettest August recorded at the Tucson NWSO station in history (5.610 inches). [Ref p10]
  • 1939, September 4-6; An unnamed hurricane came ashore on the Baja California peninsula southwest of Yuma. In excess of 5.00 inches of rain fell in northwest Arizona. Other amounts included 2.55 at Prescott, 1.41 at Tucson, 1.37 at Flagstaff, and 1.09 at Phoenix.




  • 1951, August 24-28; An unnamed hurricane came ashore on the Baja California peninsula southwest of Yuma. In excess of 5.00 inches of rain fell in southwest Arizona. Other amounts included 4.00 at Flagstaff, 3.95 at Prescott, 3.24 at Phoenix, and 1.55 at Nogales, Arizona,. Severe flooding is reported, and Gila Bend is cut off from motor travel as bridges and roads are washed out. Damage in 1951 dollars exceeds $750,000.
  • 1958, October 5-6; An unnamed hurricane originating off the west coast of Mexico passed over Tucson area.[Ref]




  • 1962, September 25-27; The remnants of Tropical Storm Claudia caused severe flash flooding in and around Tucson. Up to seven inches of rain fell in the desert just west of Tucson near the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum. Flood waters inundated Marana and Sells, Arizona. Tucson, Arizona.[Ref]
  • 1964, September 9: Tropical Storm Tillie, the storm remained at sea, but its residual moisture advanced over southern Arizona, allowing a passing cold front to trigger widespread showers and thunderstorms on the evening of September 9. Tucson received 3.05 inches (77 mm) of rainfall in a 24-hour period between September 9-10, and two locations-one in the Catalina Mountain foothills and one near Sahuarita recorded 6.75 inches (171 mm) of precipitation. Coupled with rain during the previous week, the Santa Cruz River produced heavy runoff, with peak flows of 15,900 ft3/s (450 m3/s) recorded near Cortaro.
  • 1965, September 30; The remnants of Hurricane Emily crossed into Arizona from Baja California. Any damage from the storm is not known.
  • 1966, September 29, The remnants of Tropical Storm Kirsten produced only spotty heavy rain in southeast Arizona. Nogales, Arizona, received 1.26 inches of rain.[Ref]
  • 1967, August 29-September 2; Hurricane Katrina came up the Gulf of California and came ashore south of Yuma. Over 2.00 inches of rain fall in southwest Arizona with lesser amounts elsewhere.
  • 1968, August 20; Tropical Storm Hyacinth reached the southeastern corner of the state as a tropical depression, and produced showers and thunderstorms over the eastern portion of the state.
  • 1968, October 3; Hurricane Pauline, added high amounts of moisture ahead of a cold front in early October. The added instability in the atmosphere allowed the cold front to produce severe thunderstorms, including an F2 tornado that wrecked several homes and caused $250,000 (1968 USD) in damage when it touched down in Glendale, AZ.




  • 1970, August 31 - September 5; Tropical Storm Norma, with 23 associated deaths in Arizona, was the deadliest storm in Arizona's history. More commonly known as The Labor Day storm of 1970, the remnants of Tropical Storm Norma caused severe flooding in central portions of Arizona. There are 23 deaths in central Arizona, including 14 from flash flood on Tonto Creek in the vicinity of Kohl's Ranch. Total rainfall at Workman Creek, about 30 miles north of Globe in the Sierra Ancha mountains, is 11.92 inches, with 11.40 inches falling in 24 hours. Other rainfall amounts include 9.09 at Upper Parker Creek, 8.74 at Mount Lemmon, 8.44 at Sunflower, 8.08 at Kitt Peak, 7.12 at the Tonto Creek Fish Hatchery and 7.01 inches at Crown King.[Ref]
  • 1971, October 1; The remnants of Hurricane Olivia produced over 2 inches (51 mm) of rainfall across Arizona, triggering flash flood warnings throughout the region. Pinal Ranch reported 5.33 inches (135 mm) of precipitation, while Mount Lemmon measured 3.81 inches (97 mm). Olivia's remnants also caused three major power outages near Yuma and produced flooding that resulted in the closure of a portion of U.S. Route 95. In Navajo and Pinal counties, the rainfall damaged roads, bridges, sewers, and homes, which amounted to about $250,000 in repair work for the state of Arizona.[Ref]
  • 1972, October 4 through 7 1972; Tropical Storm Joanne (earlier a Category 2 hurricane) moves across the Baja California peninsula and came ashore in western Mexico south of Ajo, Arizona. The storm brings heavy rain and flooding to much of the state. It is the first documented time that a tropical storm reaches Arizona with its cyclonic circulation intact. Heavy rains fall over much of the state with severe flooding in the Clifton, Duncan and Safford areas. Over 5.00 inches of rain is reported on the Mogollon rim southeast of Flagstaff. Rainfall amounts included 4.44 at Flagstaff, 3.80 at Prescott, 2.21 at Yuma, 1.95 at Phoenix, 1.63 at Nogales, Arizona,, and 1.63 at Tucson.
  • 1976, September 10 and 11; The remnants of Hurricane Kathleen move across Baja and into southern California near El Centro. With its circulation still intact, tropical storm force winds produce considerable damage in Yuma. Sustained winds exceed 50 mph, and gusts as high as 76 mph in Yuma. One man is killed as a 75 foot palm tree crashes onto his mobile home. Severe flooding occurs in Mohave County. Residual moisture brings more severe thunderstorms to the state on September 24 and 25. The Tucson area is particularly hard hit with flash flooding and hail as large as golf balls. Hail covers the ground to a depth of 5 inches on Mount Lemmon.
  • 1976, October 2; The remnants of Hurricane Liza (earlier a Category 4 hurricane) brought light rain to the state, with the state maximum being 1.48 inches (38 mm) on Willow Beach, AZ.
  • 1977, August 13-18; Hurricane Doreen paralleled the west coast of Baja before dissipating west of San Diego. Severe flooding occurs in Yuma County, and around Bullhead City. Rainfall in Yuma totals 2.96 inches. Severe flooding also occurred in California's Imperial Valley.
  • 1977, October 4 through 7 1977; The remnants of Hurricane Heather produces heavy rain and major flooding over extreme southern Arizona. 8.30 inches of rain fell at Nogales, Arizona, with as much as 14 inches in the surrounding mountains.




  • 1983, September 28 - October 7; Tropical storm remains, including those from Tropical Storm Octave, caused heavy rain over Arizona during a 10 day period. In southeast Arizona, Yavapai and Mohave counties are particularly hard hit. Severe flooding occurs in Tucson, Clifton and Safford. Fourteen deaths and 975 injuries are attributed to the flooding. At least 10,000 Arizonans are left temporarily homeless. Damage in today's dollars is estimated at $370 million. Rainfall amounts include 9.83 at Nogales, Arizona,, 6.67 at Safford, 6.40 at Tucson, 3.93 at Flagstaff, 2.65 at Phoenix, and 2.62 at Prescott.
  • 1984, September 25; The remnants of Hurricane Norbert (earlier a Category 4 hurricane) entered Arizona as a weakening tropical depression. Sustained winds of 20 to 30 miles per hour (30 to 50 km/h) were recorded in the Tucson area. Modest rainfall occurred throughout south-central to northeast Arizona, with most locations reporting between 1 to 2 inches (25 to 51 mm) of rain. However, Kitt Peak reported a 30-hour storm rainfall total of 4.15 inches (105 mm).
  • 1984, October 3; The remnants of Hurricane Polo caused about 1 inch (25 mm) of rain over southern and eastern Arizona, with Nogales reporting 1.93 inches (49 mm) of precipitation.
  • 1987, October 13; Nurricane Ramon peaked as a Category 4 storm on October 9 of the coast of Mexico. After peaking, Ramon turned to the northwest and rapidly weakened over cooler waters, Ramon weakened into a tropical storm on October 11 and a depression on October 12. The remnants of Hurricane Ramon produced heavy rainfall that caused flooding in California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, southwestern Colorado and as far inland as Utah.[Ref ]
  • 1989, Sept. 25-Oct. 5; Hurricane Raymond was a Category 4 hurricane with highest sustained winds of 145 mph (230 km/h). There was one fatality and $1.75 million (1989 USD) in property damage. Raymond affected Baja California Peninsula, northeastern Mexico, Arizona, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Missouri. Raymond made landfall on the Baja California Peninsula as a tropical storm late on October 4 and a second landfall in Sonora, Mexico. Tucson, Arizona recorded 4.5 in (110 mm) of rain that caused flash flooding and landslides. [Ref]




  • 1990, June 11; The moisture from Hurricane Boris produced 3.28 inches (83 mm) of rainfall on the Santa Rita Mountains.
  • 1990, August 4-9; The remnants of Hurricane Diana entered Arizona and quickly dissipated. Moisture from the storm dumped nearly 3.5 inches (99.9 mm) of rain in Maricopa County and created one of the coolest August days in the history of Phoenix. Desert Hill received 3.42 inches (86.9 mm) in less than 2 hours.[Ref] About two-thirds of Sacaton, Arizona, was inundated with at least 3 feet (0.91 m) of water.[Ref]
  • 1990, October 1; In an area already experiencing above-normal rainfall, the remnants of Tropical Storm Rachel produced additional precipitation in New Mexico, Arizona, and western Texas.[Ref]
  • 1992, August 22-24; Hurricane Lester, reached the state as a tropical storm, and caused over 5 inches (130 mm) of precipitation near Phoenix and Tucson. The center of circulation of Lester passed near Tucson on August 24, producing sustained winds of 31 mph (50 km/h) at Tucson International Airport; the airport also reported gusts of up to 45 mph (72 km/h), and a drop in central barometric pressure to 999 mbar (29.52 inHg). Irving, AZ, received 5.27 inches of rain. Much of the rest of Arizona reported over 1 inch (25 mm) of rain as a result of Lester, with a peak precipitation measurement of 5.5 inches (140 mm) at Cascabel. Lester entered New Mexico as a tropical depression. Lindrith, NM, received 2.17 inches of rain. [Ref ]
  • 1993, August 27; The remnants of Hurricane Hilary caused flash flooding in Pima County after 3.75 inches (95 mm) of rain fell on Green Valley, and 3.50 inches (89 mm) of precipitation was recorded at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument.
  • 1995 August 11; The remnants of Hurricane Flossie dumped over 3 inches (76 mm) of rain over Tucson; one woman died as she tried to cross a flooded stream, and 11 other motorists were stranded in the city. Damage from the storm in Arizona totaled $5 million (1995 USD).
  • 1995, Sept. 12-16; Hurricane Ismael was a Category 1 hurricane with highest sustained winds measured at 80 mph (130 km/h). There were 116 fatalities and $26 million (1995 USD) in property damage. Ismael made landfall near Topolobampo, Sinaloa, Mexico. Ismael moved northeast bringing heavy rainfall to the New Mexico/Texas border. Hobbs, New Mexico recorded 8.53 inches (217 mm) of rain, while in Lubbock, Texas, the rainfall led to flash flooding, closing many intersections and roads. In southwestern Oklahoma and northern Arkansas, the remnants of the storm produced over 3 inches (76 mm) of rain. [Ref]
  • 1997, September 25 and 26; The remnants of Hurricane Nora (earlier a Category 4 hurricane) moves up the Colorado River. The center of the storm passes directly over Yuma where wind guests as high as 54 mph are recorded. Significant flooding occurs across western Arizona. A total of 11.97 inches of rain fell in 24 hours on top of Harquahala Mountain, breaking the 24 hour record at Workman Creek set during the 1970 Labor Day Storm. A total of 3.59 inches of rain fell at the Yuma Airport. The average annual rainfall in Yuma is 3.17 inches. Nora also caused 12,000 people to lose electric power in Yuma. Nora is believed to be the strongest tropical storm to strike Arizona, as it produced sustained winds of 50 to 60 mph (80 to 97 km/h) over Yuma. Nora caused $150-200 million (1997 USD) in agricultural losses in Arizona. [Ref ]
  • 1998, August 9; The remnants of Tropical Storm Frank produced up to 2 inches (51 mm) of rainfall in parts of the state.
  • 1998, September 5; The remnants of Hurricane Isis dropped more than 2 inches (51 mm) of rainfall across southern Arizona, resulting in some flash flood warnings and flooding on roadways. Isis produced up to 3 inches (76 mm) across the Santa Catalina and Rincon Mountains that surround Tucson. However, there was no flooding reported in the area, and Tucson International Airport reported only 1.1 inches (28 mm) as a result of the storm.




  • 2000, October 11; The remnants of Tropical Storm Olivia produced heavy flash floods in spite of the storm having lost tropical characteristics while located 600 miles (965 km) west-southwest of Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur. The remnant low was captured by an extratropical cyclone, producing widespread heavy rains, with 1.5 to 4 inches (38 to 102 mm) of rain falling over most of southeastern Arizona; Hereford saw 8.64 inches (219 mm) of rain.
  • 2001, October 3; Hurricane Juliette (earlier a Category 4 hurricane) dissipated in the Gulf of California, and brought only trace amounts of rainfall to the southern half of the state; the largest amount recorded occurred near Patagonia, where 0.90 inches (23 mm) fell. [Ref]
  • 2003, August 25; The remnants of Hurricane Ignacio produced rainfall over southern Arizona. About 40 residences in Catalina were evacuated due to the risk of flash flooding after 2 inches (51 mm) of rain fell over the Aspen Fire burn area.
  • 2003, September 22; The remnants of Hurricane Marty brought locally heavy rains to extreme southwestern Arizona; there were no reports of flooding from the storm. The highest rain total was 2.83 inches (72 mm) at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. Rainfall extended eastward into New Mexico and Texas. Glenwood, New Mexico, received 1.06 inches (27 mm) and 3.09 inches (78 mm) of rain occurred in Tankersly, Texas.[Ref 1] [Ref 2]
  • 2004, September 20; The remnants of Hurricane Javier (earlier a Category 4 hurricane) produced heavy rain throughout the state, helping to alleviate a prolonged drought in the Southwestern United States. The heaviest rainfall occurred at Walnut Creek, which saw a total of 7.00 inches (178 mm) of precipitation during the storm.[Ref ] The Tucson International Airport saw rainfall of 0.37 inches (9.4 mm), while the University of Arizona reported 0.89 inches (23 mm) of rain. The rain from Javier flooded several roads in the city and, combined with frequent lightning, forced the university to delay one of its football games.
  • 2006, July 25; The remnants of Tropical Storm Emilia produced an influx of tropical moisture over Arizona, triggering a week-long period of disturbed weather. On July 25, a slow-moving severe thunderstorm dropped several inches of rainfall in a few hours, causing the closure of Interstate 19 when a wash flooded the roadway with running water 8 inches (200 mm) deep. The same storm also produced hail with a diameter of 1.75 inches (44 mm) north of Rio Rico, and 1 inch (25 mm) in Patagonia, and the size of a nickel in the Tohono O'odham Indian Reservation. The next day, another thunderstorm near Elfrida also produced 1-inch (25 mm) hail. After one week of widespread rainfall over southeastern Arizona, extensive flooding began to occur. Mount Lemmon saw a 7-day rainfall total of 11.10 inches (282 mm); Rillito Creek near the Catalina Mountains recorded a record flow of 30,000 cu ft/s (850 m3/s). Other streams in the area also saw record flooding, and the Santa Cruz River exceeded flood stage in Marana. The floods caused $4 million (2006 USD) in damage.
  • 2006, September 5; The remnants of Hurricane John (earlier a Category 4 hurricane) produced about 1 inch (25 mm) of rain over Cochise County.
  • 2007 September 6, The remnants of Hurricane Henriette produced flooding over Cochise County. One woman died after trying to cross a flooded wash near Sierra Vista.
  • 2008, July 23; Hurricane Dolly was a category 2 hurricane that made landfall as a tropical storm on the Yucatán Peninsula near Cancún, Mexico, early on July 21, 2008. The storm moved into the Gulf of Mexico and strengthened to become a Category 2 hurricane before weakening and making landfall as a Category 1 storm on July 23, 2008, in South Padre Island, Texas. There were no deaths as a result of Hurricane Dolly in Texas. Damage is estimated at $1.05 billion. The remnant low of Dolly caused Flash flooding in El Paso, Texas, and river flooding on the Rio Ruidoso in the Sacramento Mountains of New Mexico. Sunspot, NM, Received 8.53 inches of rin. Dolly also caused rainfall in the eastern portion of Arizona, with 1.49 inches (38 mm) falling southwest of Portal, AZ.[Ref] The remnants of the storm caused two deaths in New Mexico. [Ref]
  • 2008, August 25; Moisture from Tropical Storm Julio developed thunderstorms across Arizona, including one near Chandler which produced winds of 75 mph (120 km/h); the storm damaged ten small planes at Chandler Municipal Airport, as well as a hangar. The damages at the airport were estimated at $1 million (2008 USD). The storms also dropped heavy rainfall, reaching over 1 inch (25 mm) in Gilbert, Arizona.
  • 2009, September 5; The remnants of Hurricane Jimena (earlier a Category 4 hurricane) moved over Arizona. Near Walapai, water, rock, and other debris covered many roads. In Riviera, southwest of Bullhead City, seven mobile home trailers were blown away with many others receiving some damage due to 80 mph (130 km/h) wind gusts. In the same area, four people were hurt and total damage was $500,000. North of Mohave Valley, mudslides caused two homes to be destroyed, with 9 others receiving moderate damage, and 16 others receiving minimal damage. Total damage was estimated to be at $600,000. In Laveen, 0.9 inches (23 mm) of precipitation fell in a 90-minute period. In Quartzsite, washes overflowed their banks, causing street flooding, and $30,000 in damage. In Tanca, 1 inch (25 mm) of precipitation fell within a 30-minute period, thus causing minor flooding with one road being washed out. Damage from that flood totaled $30,000. Yuma also reported 1.62 inches (41 mm) of rain from the cyclone. On the afternoon of September 5, a haystack caught fire due to lighting, and was eventually responsible for an additional $20,000 in damage.




  • 2013, September 3; Moisture from the remnants of Tropical Storm Juliette fueled the monsoon across the southwestern United States, producing scattered showers and thunderstorms.
  • 2014, September 8; The remnants of Hurricane Norbert produced record-breaking rainfall throughout the central portion of the state. Chandler received 6.09 inches (155 mm) of precipitation, while Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport recorded 3.30 inches (84 mm) of rainfall over a seven-hour period, breaking the 75 year old daily rainfall record. Two women died; one in Pinal County and one in Tucson; both were swept away by floodwaters in their vehicles. Waters in Tucson reached as deep as 15 feet (4.6 m). Total damage in Maricopa and La Paz Counties amounted to $17.4 million.
  • 2014, September 18; The remnants of Hurricane Odile (earlier a Category 4 hurricane) brought heavy rainfall to southeastern Arizona.
  • 2015. June 5; The remnants of Hurricane Andres brought thunderstorms to Arizona, with Phoenix having measurable precipitation on that date for the first time since records began in 1896.
  • 2015, June 9; The remnants of Hurricane Blanca brought record-breaking rainfall to many Arizona cities, including Tucson and Yuma.
  • 2015, July 18; Some of Hurricane Dolores's moisture and remnants were directed into Arizona, bringing showers and thunderstorms. Up to 1 inch of rain was recorded in some places. The heavy rain triggered some flash floods and mudslides near Phoenix.
  • 2016, September 7; The remnants of Hurricane Newton combined with an upper trough moving over the Rockies brought very heavy rains to the southwestern United States. [Ref] Heavy rainfall peaked at 5.67 in (144 mm) at Miller Carr Canyon in southeastern Arizona. A swift water rescue occurred on South Burro Drive south of Ramsey Road in Hereford, Arizona. Two people and their dog were rescued when their vehicle was washed down a low water crossing. [Ref] Rainfall in New Mexico peaked at 3.43 in (87 mm) near Texico, the highest in that state. [Ref ]


  1. Wikipedia: List of Arizona hurricanes
  2. NOAA Top Arizona Hurricane/Tropical Storm Events


For more information:


USGC - Flood Mark
  • 1862, January 19-23; The flood of January 19-23, 1862, affected the Gila and Colorado Rivers and were severe at Yuma. The Verde and Bright Angel basins experienced a wet year, but the upper Salt River basin did not experience a wet year.
  • 1891, February 18-26; The Salt River at Phoenix had a peak discharge of 300,000 ft3/s. This was the largest recorded flood in Arizona history and was preceded by high streamflow in 1890. The river became 2-3 miles wide and extended 2 miles north of the channel in central Phoenix. The flood resulted from a series of frontal systems from the Pacific Ocean that caused extensive concurrent flooding in southern California. Although probably widespread in the Central Highlands of Arizona, the extent of flooding is mapped only along major rivers because too few people lived in other areas to provide consistent reports of flooding.
  • 1905, November 27-30; The area from the San Francisco to Verde Rivers were affected by several moderate to severe floods, particularly at Phoenix and along the lower Gila River.
  • 1916, January 19-22; The Central Highlands region was affected. Intense rain fell on melting snow producing large flows in central Arizona. There were 4 deaths associated with the storm and $300,000 in damages.
  • 1921, August 21; Phoenix (Cave Creek), six inches of rain in 2 days flooded 4,000 acres and the State capitol building. Damage from this storm was $240,000.
  • 1926, September 27-29; Flooding along the San Pedro River was caused by a Mexico Tropical storm. Peak flow 2-3 times larger than any other in 70 years. Damage from this storm was $450,000.
  • 1941, March 14-15; One of several storms that caused general runoff and filled reservoirs in Central Arizona.
  • 1962, September 26-28; Flooding occurred along the Brawley and Santa Rosa Washes. There was 1 death associated with the storm and $3 million in damages, mostly to agriculture near Casa Grande.
  • 1965, December 22 to Jan. 2 1966; Flooding occurred along the Verde, Salt, and Gila Rivers and Rillito Creek. This was the first large flow through Phoenix since reservoirs were built on Verde River (1939). Damage from this storm was $10 million.
  • 1966, December 5-7; Storms across the area from the Grand Canyon to southwestern Utah caused mudflows and channel erosion damaging to Indian ruins that had been undisturbed for 800 years.
  • 1970, September 5-7; On Labor Day weekend, floods occurred in recreation areas of Tonto Creek to Hassayampa River. Even though reservoirs stored most of the runoff, there were 23 deaths associated with the storm and $8 million is damages.
  • 1972, October 17-21; Foods along the Upper Gila River were caused by a Tropical storm. There were 8 deaths associated with the storm and $10 million is damages.
  • 1974, July 17; The flood in Holyoke Wash near Safford was the largest recorded rainfall in Arizona occuring in an area of less than 1 square mile. The thunderstorm produced a flow of 1,740 cubic feet per second from 0.85 square mile.
  • 1977, October to February 1980; There were seven regional floods that affected nearly all the people of Arizona. Five of the floods had recurrence intervals of at least 25 years in some part of the State. Many areas were affected by several of the floods, and Phoenix received Federal flood disaster assistance funds three times within 24 months. By March 1979, floods on the upper Salt and Verde Rivers had caused $230 million in damage and filled reservoirs upstream from Phoenix (Aldridge and Eychaner, 1984; Aldridge and Hales, 1984).
  • 1980, February 13-25; These floods impacted more residents in Arizona than the 1977 floods. Six storms during 9 days moved from the Pacific Ocean into southern California and Arizona. Daily rainfall quantities in Arizona were not extraordinary, but the total volume of runoff far exceeded available reservoir capacity. The peak discharge of the Salt River at Phoenix was 170,000 ft3/s, which was greater than any previous flow since 1905. The flood caused $80 million in damage (Chin and others, 1990).
  • 1981, July 26; Sunday about 100 people were playing in the water at Tanque Verde Falls, a series of waterfalls in a small canyon about 15 miles east of Tucson (The Arizona Daily Star, Tucson: August 9, 1981). A small thunderstorm that could not be seen from the canyon caused the water level to rise 4 feet and the discharge to increase from 50 to about 1,500 ft3/s in about 1 minute (Hjalmarson, 1984). Eight people were killed. A gaging station 1.5 miles downstream recorded a peak discharge of 836 ft3/s, and the flow was unnoticed near Tucson, where the stream spreads into a wide sand channel. Peak discharges was larger than that of July 26, 1981, at the gaging station in 18 of the previous 25 years. Even more striking was the fact that the discharge rose to 5,000 ft3/s on the Saturday morning before the tragedy and 6,700 ft3/s on Thursday night afterward. These larger peaks were not noticed by the public and caused no damage because no one had been at risk on the canyon streambed when the peaks occurred.
  • 1983, June 20 to Aug. 17; Flooding from the Santa Cruz to San Francisco Rivers. Record floods on 18 streams; there were two peak discharges that doubled 65-year-old records. There were 8 deaths, and $226 million is damages.
  • 1983, October 1-3; The regional flood of October 1-3, 1983 caused $226 million in damage in southeastern Arizona (Roeske and others, 1989). Moisture from Tropical Storm Octave, which dissipated off the west coast of Mexico, moved northeastward across Arizona for several days. Rainfall was most intense in a narrow band from south of Tucson to Clifton. Peak discharges on the Santa Cruz River at Tucson and on Aravaipa Creek were more than twice those observed in the previous 65 years. Recently installed soil-cement streambank reinforcement helped to limit damage in Tucson; nonetheless, several buildings were lost to erosion. Large areas northwest of Tucson were inundated as flood waters from the Santa Cruz and Gila Rivers spread across flat fields. The flood was the largest on record at San Francisco River at Clifton but was only 1 of 12 floods that have inundated the town since it was established in 1870 in a canyon on a narrow flood plain (Hjalmarson, 1990). Flood-protection structures protect Clifton from small and medium floods, but almost the entire town can be damaged by any flood that overtops the floodwalls.

Source: NATIONAL WATER SUMMARY 1988-89 / Hydrologic Events and Floods and Droughts [PDF] pp 182-185

Note: See Hurricanes for other flood events caused by Tropical Storms.


For more information:

Winter Storms


Regional snowfall index (RSI)[Ref-1] [Ref-2]

Category RSI Value Description
1 1—2.999 Notable
2 3—5.99 Significant
3 6—9.99 Major
4 10—17.99 Crippling
5 18.0+ Extreme


  • 2009, December 7-8; Blizzard conditions occurred at the highest elevations in Northern Greenlee County with very strong winds and limited visibility. Over 20 inches of snow fell.
  • 2010, January 21-22; An exceptionally strong Pacific storm system impacted southeast Arizona. Widespread heavy valley rain and higher elevation snow affected all of southeast Arizona. The storm produced a significant wind event, with strong and damaging winds reported at many locations, along with areas of blowing dust. Heavy rainfall and melting snowpack produced some flooding of area streams and washes, and the combination of heavy snow and strong winds produced blizzard conditions on the highest elevations at times. Also, several severe thunderstorms produced wind damage during the evening of the 21st. Blizzard conditions existed in Northern Greenlee County that received 12 to 20 inches of snow with low visibility and strong winds. The telescopes on Mt. Lemmon at 9100 feet had at least 12 inches of snow. Up to 36 inches of snow occurred at the top of Mt. Graham with wind gusts of 60 to 80 mph, which led to near zero visibilities in blowing snow. Blizzard conditions occurred on the mountains above 7000 feet in Santa Cruz County, and on Chiricahua Mountains in Cochise County. Mormon Lake received a total of 14 inches, Flagstaff Airport 12 inches, Munds Park and Bellemont 11 inches of snow.[Ref]
  • 2010, Feb 1-6 - The February 5-6, 2010 North American blizzard formed on February 1, 2010 and moved ashore on the West Coast near Baja California Sur, Mexico, and moved north east. The storm moved off the east coast on Feb 6, 2010. The storm brought a mixture of snow, sleet, freezing rain, and flooding, in Mexico the heavy rains resulting in at least 15 fatalities. The storm affected Arizona and New Mexico from February 1 to 4 with up to 1 foot of snow in the mountains east of Albuquerque, New Mexico. On February 4, Oklahoma and northern Texas saw rain and snow, with severe thunderstorms further south. Feb. 4 brought widespread rainfall totals of 1 inch to 4 inches of rain in portions of Central and Southern Mississippi. Jackson, MS, broke a daily rainfall record with 2.51 inches (6.4 cm) of rainfall. On Friday Feb, 5., power outages affecting about 40,000 customers, were reported in the North Carolinas mountain counties as the winter storm brought a mixture of snow, sleet and freezing rain to much of the state. A drenching rain fell early Friday in the Charlotte, NC, and in Atlanta, GA, which transitioned to a few inches of snow later in the day. Several inches of snow accumulated farther north. To the north, Howard, MD, received 38.3 inches of snow, while Washington Dulles International Airport measured 32.9 inches. Fatalities occurred in Mexico, New Mexico, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Maryland. The storm was classed as a Category 3 ("major") nor'easter and severe weather event. [Ref]

For more information:
  • NOAA - Know Your Winter Weather Terms
  • Wikipedia: winter storm
  • Wikipedia: Ice storm
  • Wikipedia: Northeast Snowfall Impact Scale
  • Wikipedia: List of NESIS storms
  • Wikipedia: Regional Snowfall Index
  • Wikipedia: List of Regional Snowfall Index Category 5 winter storms
  • The 10 Worst Blizzards in US History
  • Major Winter Storms
  • 10 Biggest Snowstorms of All Time
  • The Top 10 Biggest Snowstorms Ever Recorded
  • The Nation's 10 Worst Ice Storms
  • 8 Inches of Ice? Record Freezing Rain Accumulation
  • Feb. 1899: The Worst Cold Snap in North American History

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    Last Update: October 30, 2017

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