Saturday, July 09, 2011

Rain gauges installed in Horseshoe II and Monument fire areas for flood alerts

Based on recommendations of the Coronado National Forest's Burn Area Emergency Response (BAER) team and its interagency cooperators, two portable, self-sufficient real-time weather stations [right, credit USFS] have been emplaced within the burned area of the Horseshoe 2 wildfire. These portable battery/solar powered units can be set up in remote locations to observe current weather conditions, especially precipitation amounts. These units have been used successfully in situations such as post-fire burn areas for heavy rain monitoring and flash flood risk assessment. [AZGS geologist Ann Youberg was a member of the BAER Team and contributed to the assessment.]

In addition, we hear that two permanent ALERT raing gauges have been set up in the Monument fire area.

The weather data from these units is communicated in real-time via amateur radio automatic packet reporting system (APRS). The weather data APRS packets are typically transmitted every 10 minutes. These weather stations will be monitored by the National Weather Service and used to issue weather watch and warnings to nearby communities and recreational areas.

Residents are encouraged to use extreme caution when traveling in the vicinity of the Horseshoe 2 fire area. Monsoon rains on burned slopes will result in large flood events, debris flows, rolling rocks, and falling trees - all of which could block vehicular travel. Travelers need to use caution when driving on roads downstream from the fire area and to avoid crossing swift flowing water. Landowners living downstream from the burned areas need to be prepared to have their egress routes blocked and should have supplies of food, water, and clothing to be self-sufficient for several days until roads can be re-opened.

Remember, it does not need to be raining where you are for a flash flood to occur.

[this is taken largely from the Coronado National Forest news release]

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