If you spend any time on the Verde River you quickly here the stories about the 1993 and 2004 floods. In 2004 at its high, the flow gauge in Camp Verde hit 50,000 cfs, cubic feet per second. The average flow for the gauge is about 150 cfs. But 1993 is the one year that everyone says was the highest in recent memory. I have friends that tell me about the rain that seemed to never stop as it brought down the snow pack from Flagstaff. The flow gauge in Camp Verde topped 100,000 cfs.
This last week, as the rains poured down, we could feel the excitement in the air from those of us that watch the river closely. We were all wondering if we would again see a historic flow. I was awoken by a text from a friend with a picture of the Verde River in Clarkdale Friday morning. I quickly got dressed and headed to a high point to watch the flow over the Brewer Tunnel Dam. It was high! The highest I’d ever seen. Everyone estimated that it was flowing at 16,000 cfs but they couldn’t confirm because the gauge was down! The Camp Verde gauge was registering at 48,000 cfs and climbing, getting ready to reach that 2004 level.
Then on Friday afternoon the Brewer Tunnel Dam broke! The 105-year-old structure, that diverts water from the Verde to Pecks Lake busted wide open, quickly sending water and slit downstream with the tremendous force forged new paths in the river. It will be interesting to see what the next storm will bring.