EL CENTRO - The first wave of Hurricane Rosa visited the Imperial Valley Sunday night bringing strong winds, rain and thunder. According to Imperial Irrigation District’s Robert Schettler, the county experienced a few scattered power outages across the system due to the storm. IID crews worked throughout the night to restore power, and according to district officials, all power had been restored as of Monday morning.
Imperial County officials are now monitoring potential severe thunderstorm warnings. Currently, weather reports say there is a flash flood watch in effect from Monday morning through late Tuesday night for portions of Arizona and California, including Imperial County. Officials warned that thunderstorms coming through Imperial Valley always have the potential for creating flash floods and loss of power.
Imperial County officials are preparing to be available to respond to any adversity, information and updates will be shared as they become available.
The El Centro Fire Department issued a warning for those driving to take precautionary measures against flash floods and choose actions to prevent injury or death. A Flash Flood Watch means floods in washes, creeks and other drainage areas are possible within the Watch area. If you are in the Watch area, you should monitor the weather and be prepared to take immediate action should heavy rain and flooding occur, or a flash flood warning be issued.
Imperial County Fire Chief Alfredo Estrada reported nothing severe happened following Sunday night's storms. He said Winterhaven experienced flooding, but mainly because the town lacks storm drains. The town also had four residences without power, although IID crews restored it within 40 minutes.
Estrada said Palo Verde experienced heavy rain, but Highway 78 remained open throughout the storm and crews monitoring the road reported no issues.
“Imperial got slammed,” Estrada said. Nevertheless their Emergency Operation Center did not have to activate, but kept a small crew on hand to monitor the storm.
Estrada warned the storm expected by mid-to-late afternoon today will be stronger. County workers are filling sand bags, pulling out pump generators, and preparing for the worst. Estrada said the National Weather Service out of Phoenix expected the Valley to get ½ to 1 inch of rain.
“That is a lot of rain for our area, but Yuma and Phoenix are going to get the full force of the storm,” Estrada said.
Schettler of the IID said crews are also preparing for the potential effects of the upcoming storm.
“We are accessing our staffing levels. Additional staff will be called in to deal with the potential for multiple outages. This includes all support groups, energy system operations, troubleshooters, line crews, call center, and water staff, to ensure staffing levels are adequate to deal with the potential impacts,” Schettler said.