After months of drought Phoenix area gets rain, snow, graupel


Ole Olafson

Heavy rains caused a shopping cart and other debris to wash out of little used drainage canals in the Scottsdale area

Ole Olafson, Reporter

After months of no appreciable rainfall, some places in and around the Phoenix metropolitan area received a variety pack of precipitation over the last several days.

Rain, hail, snow and something called graupel fell over different parts of the Valley depending on the elevation.

Late last week, localized rain showers gave way to some severe thunderstorms. Beginning Saturday night, periods of heavy rain and some small hail fell in and around the Phoenix area.  More of the same occasionally violent weather followed on Sunday.

Many Valley residents welcome a change from dry, stable weather.  However, Monday brought more than just rain to the temporarily quenched desert.  Depending on the elevation, some areas of Scottsdale, Fountain Hills and Northeast Mesa saw actual snowfall and some areas of Phoenix received what meteorologists call graupel, or small ice pellets that look like snow but don’t fall as flakes.

The Maricopa County Flood Control Map shows that at least .25” to .5” of rain fell across the area and rainfall amounts approaching and exceeding 1” were registered north and northeast of Phoenix over the last 72 hours.  Approximately 1.5 inches of snow fell in North Scottsdale and parts of East Mesa above 1,500 feet of elevation.