Rain, rain, here to stay; flooding possible every day
Though refreshing for a drought-stricken Arizona, the last week-and-a-half of monsoon storms have put everyone on high alert in the Quad-Cities area and caused some noticeable localized flooding.
Mayer and surrounding areas below the Goodwin Fire burn scar have so far been the most impacted by the spotty downpours, said Yavapai County Emergency Services Manager Ron Sauntman.
Anticipating this, the Mayer Fire Department and the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office have been on flood watch in that area for several hours almost every day since Monday, July 9.
“Saturday (July 14) was our worst day,” Mayer Fire Department Battalion Chief Mike McGhee said. “We had some flooding into the trailer park at Central Avenue and Stagecoach Road.”
A pre-evacuation notice was put out to the residents of that area, but the weather calmed before an evacuation was necessary.
That was the closest to an evacuation the county has gotten so far, Sauntman said.
“We have not had any official evacuations,” he said.
“We’ve come close on a couple of occasions.”
PRESCOTT VALLEY IMPACTED
While the Mayer area was spared from heavy rainfall on Sunday, July 15, Prescott Valley was slammed throughout the late afternoon.
Between about 3 and 5 p.m., the Central Arizona Fire and Medical Authority (CAFMA) had their hands full responding to weather-related calls, said CAFMA Battalion Chief John Feddema.
“It started with a lot of flood assist calls; helping residents with water that started coming into not just their backyards, but butting up against their houses,” Feddema said.
Emergency personnel eventually closed a couple roads because of high waters in flood plain areas, including Robert Road and Roundup Drive.
“I know the Town of Prescott Valley blocked off a handful of roads as well,” Feddema said. “At one point they were working on Glassford Hill Road to clear some of the debris just from some of the runoff.”
Flooding was once again reported Monday afternoon in Prescott Valley, as a storm cell decided to dump in the area. Weather reports indicate this flooding will continue.
EXPECT MORE FLOODING
Unfortunately, the worst flooding may be yet to come.
“The biggest concern right now is the saturation level issues,” Sauntman said.
Pretty much every area of Yavapai County has received ample rain at some point, so ground soils are already full of moisture.
“The ground is saturated and a lot of the retention ponds are full, so any water that comes is going to be hitting those runoffs and causing challenges,” Feddema said.
And the current monsoon pattern appears to be sticking around at least through this week.
“We’re hearing from the weather service that there’s no system coming to move this system out of place, so they expect this system to stay put for at least the next five days,” said Lynn Whitman, Yavapai County Flood Control District Director.
In case anyone is evacuated from their home and finds themselves displaced due to significant damage to their home, volunteers with the American Red Cross are on standby to set up emergency shelters in the area, said Colin Williams, regional communications officer with American Red Cross.
“Everybody’s eyes are to the sky and we are keenly aware that we’re in this period where we could be activated quickly,” Williams said.
The organization can also provide emergency funds to families affected by disaster so they can start their recovery process. For more information on this, go to www.redcross.org.
PRECAUTIONS TO TAKE
As always, the primary precaution to take during monsoon storms is to stay out of low-water crossings.
During the storm in Prescott Valley on Sunday, Feddema noticed people ignoring this basic advice.
“We even had a situation on Sunday where people would go around cones we had set up to block areas,” Feddema said.
According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, just 6 inches of moving water can knock a person down and 2 feet of moving water can sweep a vehicle away. Before a flood impacts your home, it’s recommend to build an emergency kit and make a family communication plan, according to Yavapai County Emergency Management. It’s also wise to elevate the furnace, water heater and electric panel in your home if you live in an area that has a high flood risk. Finally, consider installing check valves to prevent flood water from backing up into the drains of your home.
Further information on how to prepare and respond to floods can be found at www.regionalinfo-alert.org.