TUCSON, ARIZ. (KGUN9) — Gilbert Castillo’s house always has sandbags stacked up and ready to go.
“Replacing them, refilling them, getting new ones,” he said.
Castillo says it was just a few months after moving in when the 2010 monsoon hit his property hard. He knew the Forty Niner Country Club area sits along the Tanque Verde Creek and that he was in a flood zone.
“But I didn’t realize we were the lowest spot here in the forty niners.”
Rushing water trapped him inside his new house for hours. He shared pictures of the mud and debris inside his home and said the damage was estimated at around 60 thousand dollars.
“Walls came down, fencing came down in the back, pool got filled with mud,” he said. “But nothing outside the house is covered by flood insurance.”
Monsoon has always caused varying levels of flooding throughout the Tucson area.
“There was sand made available in the parking lot of Hi Corbett field, so people were filling up sand and taking it to their places,” said Tucson Resident Elise Lindstedt. She says the flooding in her neighborhood is usually just nuisance street flooding during heavy monsoon rains.
Some of the more troublesome areas have seen improvements in recent years. The Palo Verde neighborhood struggled for years with monsoon flooding, but neighbors in this area say a new drainage basin is doing its job keeping the water off the roadways.
But parts of the Forty Niner area continue to lie in a flood zone. The Pima County Regional Flood Control district says flood insurance is recommended even for the homes just outside where insurance is mandatory.
“I found out the hard way how much it didn’t cover,” said Castillo.
Despite the risks, Castillo says he still cannot help looking forward to monsoon every year.
“My trees here were dying two years ago from lack of water. So, we do need it. I do realize that. So yeah, we still look forward to it, but any heavy rainstorm we get a little apprehensive.”
Brian Brennan’s fascination with weather began as a kid in Arizona watching the intense thunderstorms during monsoon. He has covered major breaking news, court trials, Nellis Air Force Base, and has put himself at the center of many weather events.