Mother Nature slams Yuma Area Office, local area
On Aug. 22, Mother Nature in all her fury wreaked havoc in the Yuma and Imperial valleys with Tropical Storm "Ivo" causing rain and wind damage at the Yuma Area Office (YAO).
Though no injuries occurred at YAO, a sizeable segment of the office's covered parking area suffered significant damage.
"Strong wind gusts and heavy rain resulted in a 100-foot section of the parking area collapsing atop several parked vehicles from our motor pool," said Maria Ramirez, YAO’s Acting Area Manager. "As the storm subsided, YAO’s maintenance staff made immediate repairs to the parking structure, while the Property staff worked with the General Services Administration to schedule repairs of the damaged vehicles."
With more than three inches of rainfall blanketing the Region from the tropical storm, both the Yuma area and Imperial Valley water districts dramatically curtailed their water orders, presenting the YAO's water operations staff with multiple and immediate challenges.
"Over the five days following tropical storm Ivo, the local water districts we service collectively curtailed or reduced their water orders by more than 5,000-acre feet due to saturated soil conditions," said Ed Virden, Chief of YAO's Operations and Maintenance Office. "The good news is, we were able to store approximately 5900 acre-feet of the excess water in Senator Wash Reservoir for future use."
Beyond damage occurring at YAO, last week's storm wreaked havoc in the greater region, causing property damage, localized flooding, extended power outages and road closures.
In the farming areas, especially in the Gila Valley and on the Mesa near the Yuma Foothills region, many roads were closed due to power poles being down, running washes, flash flooding and other damage caused by the storms.
In total, the tropical storm knocked out power to more than 12,000 Arizona Public Service customers and 1,000 residents of Bard, Winterhaven and other reservation residents in neighboring California.
To help residents who lost electrical service, the Quechan Indian Tribe sheltered residents at the Paradise and Quechan casinos and local motels, with help from the Red Cross.
"With National Weather Service forecasts calling for more showers and thunderstorms throughout the week, more flooding, heavy wind and surplus water conditions could be possible," added Virden.