Editorial: Month of February is flood season here
While this past week’s rainfall — with a touch of snow — produced minor problems in the Prescott area and Yavapai County, it bears emphasis that this is the peak time of year for flooding.
And, you can never be over prepared during flood season, especially, it seems, in February.
Everyone has memories of flood events around here. There was the summer deluge in Paulden years back that turned a wash into a river, and no one expected the New Year’s flood in Granite Creek long ago to claim the lives of two young men who decided to ride the rapids in a canoe.
However, those destructive and tragic events and February precipitation are different in one significant way, according to the National Weather Service: moderate or heavy rains over a long period of time saturate the ground, leading to localized flash flooding.
It was a concern enough for the Weather Service on Feb. 5 to issue a two-day Flash Flood Watch for Yavapai County. The rains had soaked several inches into the soil, coupled with low overnight temperatures, and new rainfall had nowhere to go but run off.
We were lucky this time; however, the numbers back this up. Historically, in the Prescott area the month of February is the wettest in the period of October through June at 1.77 inches, followed by March (1.69 inches) and January (1.57 inches). Next up are the summer months and the monsoons; the difference being the duration of storms in February.
Floods are the most common natural disaster in the United States. They can result from rain or snow and can develop slowly or quickly; flash floods can come with no warning.
Be prepared for flooding by evacuating when told to, do not enter flood waters, and move to higher ground. Only 6 inches of moving water can knock you down, and 1 foot of moving water can sweep your vehicle away.
And it seems to be the way it’s always been: Genesis 7:11-12 “... in the second month, and on the 17th day of that month, that very day all the springs of the great deep broke through, and the floodgates of the heavens opened. And the rain fell on the earth 40 days and 40 nights.”