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City preps for monsoon, urges people to prepare despite lackluster rains in past

A sign warns drivers ahead of potential flooding danger. Motorists should remember to always...
A sign warns drivers ahead of potential flooding danger. Motorists should remember to always "turn around, don't drown."(kold)
Updated: Jun. 14, 2021 at 5:00 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - While monsoon doesn’t officially begin until Tuesday, June 15, the city of Tucson has been preparing for months.

Despite the dry weather the area has seen for the last two years, city officials said it is important for residents to prepare as well.

“People need to be prepared because many times these storms can be very violent and draw up a lot of rainfall in a short period of time,” said Mike Graham, with the Tucson Department of Transportation and Mobility.

The outlook for rain is a bit complicated.

Experts agree there is a high likelihood temperatures will be hotter than usual this year and storms may start earlier in the season.

However, when it comes to heavier precipitation, it’s unknown.

“It’s a tossup because at this point there are equal chances of average, above average or below average rain,” said KOLD News 13 Chief Meteorologist Erin Christiansen. “It’s certainly looking a little bit better from what last monsoon did. Now, that’s from a rain perspective.”

The city has worked to clear washes, placed barricades around town and kicked off Operation Splash Monday — meaning they are ready to respond at a moment’s notice.

“Our crews are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” Graham said.

The new storm drain along the Stone Avenue Bridge is being built as part of the Downtown Links project and is slated to wrap up around July, just in time for potential storms.

Officials still want to remind people to “turn around, don’t drown,” if there is water across a road. They ask people heed their warnings.

“What looks like just a few inches of water may not be. It could be three feet, four feet of water,” said Graham.

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