Tropical storm Norma formed off the west coast of Mexico just after the page of the calendar turned to September in 1970. By September 3rd it had reached minimal tropical storm force then was pulled inland after moving briefly up through the gulf of California. Its impacts were minimal in Mexico and many though the worst was over. It lost its circulation, but not it’s moisture. Heavy tropical moisture deep through the atmosphere came streaming northward into Arizona. The result was what is known as The Great Labor Day Storm of 1970.Severe flooding hit Arizona on September 4, 1970 that extended into the 5th. This storm dropped the most rain ever along the Mogollon Rim, near Payson, stretching from Workman Creek to Parker Creek to Crown King. The most rainfall in 24 hours reported in one range gauge outside of Globe was 11.92 inches.. Phoenix received 2.43 inches and Scottsdale 4 inches from the storm. Many were out and bout that Labor Day weekend at one of the many campgrounds in the area. Never before in the state’s recorded history had it rained so hard or so much in one day and never before had so many mountain streams and normally dry washes risen so rapidly or filled so fast with raging torrents of water. All-time previous high-water marks were exceeded. 23 lives were lost making it the greatest natural disaster in the history of the state. All who lost their lives were away from home and all but 4 were in automobiles. 14 died attempting to flee campgrounds in the headwaters of the Tonto Creek.
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