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National Weather Service Forecast Office
Tucson, Arizona
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Cyclone: Hurricane Nora
Date it affected AZ: September 25-26, 1997
Affected Arizona as...: Tropical Storm (moved north through Yuma; dissipated over southwest Utah)

Nora, the last tropical storm to directly hit Arizona, did considerable wind and flash flood damage across the western third of the state, and may have been the strongest tropical storm to ever strike Arizona, eclipsing even Kathleen in 1976. Sustained winds of 50-60 mph were reported in Yuma with gusts near hurricane force as she raced northward up the Colorado River. The newly installed WSR-88D Doppler radar at Yuma, AZ, detected hurricane force winds about 60 miles east of the center and as low as 4000 feet MSL. That translated to tropical storm-force winds over western Pima County where rainfall of 2-3 inches was estimated by radar and satellite. Most of southeast Arizona, including Tucson, escaped with just sprinkles and breezy conditions. Wind and flash flood damage associated with Nora extended all the way into the mountains of southwest Utah.

Image of Hurricance Nora track. Close up image of Hurricane Nora track
Image of rainfall produced by Hurricance Nora across Mexico and the southwest United States
Image courtesy of Hydrometeorological Prediction Center (http://www.hpc.ncep.noaa.gov)