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Monsoon flooding damages border wall gates in east Arizona

August 23, 2021 GMT

DOUGLAS, Ariz. (AP) — Several metal flood gates in the newly built section of the U.S.-Mexico border wall in easternmost Arizona were ripped off their hinges last week by flooding from unusually heavy monsoon rains, authorities say.

A spokesman for the Border Patrol’s Tucson sector confirmed Monday the gates were open last week when water from the historic rainfall rushed through the Douglas area near the San Bernardino Wildlife Refuge in Cochise County. He said a Border Patrol team is currently assessing flood damage along the wall.

An official with Customs and Border Protection said authorities planned to repair the damage.

Flood gates are located in areas along the border to prevent boulders, branches and other debris from building up during rains. Border Patrol agents typically open the gates when major rainfall is expected.

“The rainfall this year is far above normal,” said forecaster Aaron Hardin of the National Weather Service office in Tucson.

He said so far the Tucson area has seen about 11.8 inches (30 cm) of rainfall, compared with about 1.6 inches (4 cm) during the current monsoon season that began June 15 and runs through Sept. 30.