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DeConcini Port re-opens after monsoon flood

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Photo: Video by kgun9.com

DeConcini Port re-opens after monsoon flood

By Craig Smith. CREATED Jul 8, 2014

NOGALES, Ariz (KGUN9-TV) - One of Arizona busiest border crossings is open again, after a monsoon deluge left it at least ankle deep in water.

Nogales DeConcini Port of Entry was closed from about noon Monday to about 10pm  when a blinding rain storm brought on a flash flood that caused deep trouble on the US and Mexican sides.

At the DeConcini Port of Entry they use a lot of modern technology: Computers, x-ray screeners but Monday one of the technologies they needed the most was a mop.

Agents trained to keep out drugs and criminals ended up working to keep out flood water.

 Assistant Port Director Joe Agosttini remembers, "It's about six, seven inches and in some places 18 inches of water coming towards you and in front of you it's carrying a lot of debris,  a lot of trash a lot of mud. That is being pushed by the pressure of the water and it's coming towards you. 
KGUN9 reporter Craig Smith said, “and let’s not mince words, there's sewage there right?  Well there's areas in which the sewage system didn't work."
Things were even wilder in Mexico where the mix of water, mud and sewage swept away cars, and left a huge mess to scrape up.
   
The DeConcini port handles eight or nine thousand cars, and nearly as many pedestrians on an average day.
     
CBP closed the DeConcini port and diverted traffic to two other, much drier, ports of entry near by.
     
City workers on the Mexico and US sides rushed in with sandbags to dam up and divert the dirty water.
     
Bruce Bracker chairs the Nogales Port Authority.  He's pleased how everyone pulled together when trouble poured in.

"This is just one of those acts of God and there you go.  Hopefully this is gonna be a nice wet monsoon season which is what Arizona needs.  We could all use the water and it's just unfortunate that you had these microbursts that, two inches within an hour in any part of town, in any community would cause havoc."

CBP says it's learned some hard lessons from what happened so they will be ready the next time the sky opens up and the water flows in.  For one thing they're going to have more boots, clean up gear and sandbags.
 

Craig Smith

Craig Smith

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Craig enjoys using innovative writing and visuals to make difficult stories easier to understand. As a newsroom manager at KGUN 9, Craig was part of the team that won three best newscast awards from Arizona Associated Press