The worst floods in Tucson's history

Posted: 12:11 PM, Jul 22, 2021
Updated: 2021-07-22 15:19:16-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — This weekend's weather could bring some significant flooding to the Tucson area.

National Weather Service Tucson says heavy rain is expected, most notably in southeast Arizona.

"The upcoming heavy rain event for southeast Arizona brings back memories of the late July 2006 heavy rain/flash flooding event," said NWS Tucson in a tweet Thursday.

FULL SECTION: Monsoon 2021

While we won't know the official rainfall totals until the end of the weekend, here's a look back at some notable years when the Tucson metro area was most affected by Monsoon storms.

All information below is provided by the National Weather Service

Aug. 9, 1945

On this day, heavy thunderstorms caused washes to overflow on Tucson's southside. National Weather Service Tucson says the rain tore a 15-foot gap in the bridge on Benson Highway. The flash flooding resulted in the drowning of 10 people.

July 24, 1975

This storm reportedly went on for 90 minutes, with wind gusts up to 67 miles per hour, resulting in city-wide damage estimated at $2,000,000. NWS mentions that an apartment's roof was blown off, making 200 people temporarily homeless.

July 26, 1981

This flash flood killed eight people in a flash flood at Tanque Verde Falls. NWS says a wall of water 15 feet high rushed down the canyon and over the falls.

Oct. 1983

This was the most impactful storm in Tucson during the 20th Century, according to NWS. Before the historic flood began, the metro area was already saturated with seven inches of rain that fell during August and September. A weather disturbance, combined with then Tropical Storm Octave on the California coast, led to a four-day period of rainfall. "Several buildings fell into Rillito Creek due to bank erosion. Extensive damage also occurred to agriculture in Marana. Cost estimates (using 1984 dollars) to repair and mitigate flood damage were estimated at $105.7 million. Four deaths in Eastern Pima County were associated with the flood," said NWS about the storm.

January 1993

This was the wettest January on record for the Tucson metro area. According to NWS, between four and seven inches fell between Jan. 5 - Jan. 15. This made for the biggest occurrence of flooding since 1983. "Damage to public transportation and flood control facilities, private property and inconvenience totaled up to roughly 14 million dollars for emergency repairs and long-term improvements," NWS said.

MAP: Free sandbag locations across southern Arizona
Getting water off the roadways and underground
Microbursts explained
VIDEO: Firefighters rescue man and two daughters from floodwaters near Catalina