Published On: Fri, Oct 18th, 2019

Tropical Storm Octave update: The tragic history of MEGASTORM | World | News

According to the National Hurricane Centre (NHC), Tropical Storm Octave is strengthening as it churns 1,450 miles (2,330km) southwest of the southern tip if Baja California. The storm is packing maximum sustained winds of 45 mph (75km/h), and isn’t posing a threat to any landmass at this stage.

While this Storm Octave looks like it’ll be fairly benign, a storm of the same name struck in 1983 and was far, far worse.

The 1983 Octave is considered to have been the worst tropical cyclone in the history of Arizona.

The enormous storm brought constant rainfall to Arizona for a week, wreaking havoc and claiming lives.

The storm was so destructive and widespread that effects were felt in New Mexico, California ad even Mexico.

READ MORE: WATCH Super Typhoon Hagibis strengthen into Cat 5 Hurricane 

After the rain ended, the Santa Cruz, Rillito, and Gila rivers experienced their highest crests on record.

Five towns – Clifton, Duncan, Winkelman, Hayden, and Marana – were almost completely inundated by floodwater.

In Marana, many homes were submerged, forcing thousands of residents to evacuate.

More than 700 homes were destroyed in Clifton as well as 86 of the town’s 126 businesses, which were heavily damaged due to the flooding.

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A total of 14 people drowned and another 975 were injured from floodwaters and related hazards.

Elsewhere, Octave was responsible for $12.5 million in damage in New Mexico.

Following the storm, governor Bruce Babbitt declared a state of emergency, while President Ronald Reagan declared eight counties a “major disaster area”.

Government aid was provided to victims of Octave, and 15 shelters, which housed 2,905 people, were opened.

Workers from dozens of companies used cranes, dynamite, trucks, and hammers to clean up dried 7 ft (2.1 m) mud near the rivers.

It took some four months for floodwaters to totally recede across southeastern Arizona and portions of New Mexico, and the storm, while devastating, earned the nation considerable experience on how to protect flood banks.

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