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Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
7:42 PM Sun, Nov. 18th

Editorial: Heavy rains prompt thoughts of caution

Water runs out of the Safeway shopping complex flooding Haining Street on Tuesday morning during a downpour in Prescott. (Matt Hinshaw/The Daily Courier)

Water runs out of the Safeway shopping complex flooding Haining Street on Tuesday morning during a downpour in Prescott. (Matt Hinshaw/The Daily Courier)

It's the oldest story in the world: It never rains but it pours.

People from the greater Prescott area know we experienced an extremely dry winter this year, just as they are now learning this summer's monsoons are the wettest in more than 10 years.

Tuesday's downpour was intense, with flooding bringing Granite Creek over its banks, Watson Lake rising by more than two feet in a matter of hours, and a near-disaster in Black Canyon City when the confluence of the Agua Fria River and Black Canyon Creek turned a school bus stop into an island and forced the evacuation of the River's Edge Trailer Park.

Floods in the Prescott area Tuesday were reminiscent of a pre-drought era, when most summer afternoons became an adventure of swollen waterways and their often-treacherous low-water crossings.

Similarly, residents of the Valley of the Sun and beyond - like Prescottonians - on Tuesday saw the skies open up and dump inches upon inches of rain across Arizona, causing washes to swell and destruction to be commonplace.

The continuing rainfall - it is forecast through the end of the week - has added to already saturated soils, leaving the water nowhere to go but ... well, elsewhere.

To see images of swift-water rescues and quick evacuations should stand as reminders not to play with Mother Nature: When posed with a water-covered roadway, slow down; come across a wash, canal or ditch - don't try to cross or drive through it; do not play in the water, debris flowing just under the surface can catch you by surprise or worse.

Maybe we did not worry because we thought we are in a drought. Monsoons do this - and we are far from being out of drought conditions, which are based on annual rainfall not a few days or one week.

Endure, prepare, use common sense, stay safe and, above all else, enjoy the smell and sights of the precipitation out there.

Lord knows when it will stop - or when it will come again.