Prepare for and weather the Arizona flash floods
The weeks of July 19 and 26, 2021 were wet for Arizona. The rain fell hard for hours. KVOA News in Tucson reported on July 30 that âJuly 2021 has officially become the wettest month in history. (The archives date back to 1894). Extreme rains and dry ground were the perfect combinations for flash floods to occur – and they have done it all over our state.
The National Weather Service reports that in 2020 flooding killed 57 in the United States Between 2010 and 2020 flash floods averaged 94 deaths per year, on par with tornadoes and heat for most deaths related to weather conditions.
Rain in Arizona is often greeted with joy due to the humidity and cooler temperatures that come with it. Still, monsoon storms can pack a punch and generate floods that develop at speeds that catch most people off guard. An arroyo (dry stream bed) can be flooded in a flash, hence the term “flash flood”.
There are a lot of things you can do to keep yourself safe before the storm starts.
Before a Flood Happens: Not sure if your area is vulnerable or has a history of flooding? Visit the FEMA Flood Map Service Center to find out. Call your insurance agent and find out about your property coverage.
In addition to protecting your property, keep essential documents in airtight containers, move valuables to higher levels, and make sure your drains and gutters are not clogged.
If you are in a potential flood area, get your hands on some sandbags. They are available at most major hardware stores. Fire departments may also have them.
Also make sure your car is ready to go. Keep a spare battery, jumper cables, engine oil, a jack, a tire repair kit, and windshield wipers on hand. See Romey’s Vehicle Preparation Checklist for tips.
Rosie’s Bug-Out Bag will come in handy for all the reasons you might have to get away from it all quickly and for more than a day or two.
Just in case a calamity strikes, you will need to have access to clean water, food, and other basic needs. Rosie’s Home Prep Guide will walk you through preparing everything you need around the house.
Install a weather app such as Accuweather, The Weather Channel, National Weather Service on your phone or tablet that will send notifications for a particular weather alert, such as these:
Flood Watch – Indicates that flooding is possible. Stay by a trusted source of information to monitor any development.
Flash flood monitoring – Flash floods are possible. Be prepared to move to higher ground or have a plan to do so in the event of a flood.
Flood Warning – Flood is happening or will happen soon.
Flash flood warning – A flash flood is occurring. Look for higher ground immediately.
During a flood
If the authorities order evacuations, follow the order. When driving, do not drive around barriers. They are in place to mark areas of flooding that cannot be entered. The Arizona Emergency Information Network suggests that if floodwaters are rising around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground if it is safe to do so.
Only six inches of moving water can knock you over, and one foot of moving water can take your vehicle away. A foot can wash your vehicle. See âStupid Motorists Actâ below.
After the flood
Stay on top of news and alerts regarding the storm and when it’s safe to return to evacuated areas. Continue to avoid moving water and drive unless it is an emergency. Flood conditions can last a long time after the cause of the flood has ceased.
Be careful when entering buildings as they may have suffered damage that is not visible. Stay on firm ground. Know the risk of electrocution in flooded areas. Do not approach or touch anything electrical if you are in the water.
Do not override these precautions. Arizona is no stranger to epic flood events.
Stupid motorist law
If you’re new to Arizona, you might not have heard of our “Dumb Motorist Law”. It’s a real thing.
According to the law, âA driver of a vehicle who drives the vehicle on a public road or highway which is temporarily covered by a rise in water level, including groundwater or water overflow, and who is barricaded due to a flood is responsible for the expenses of any emergency intervention necessary to remove from the public highway or the road the driver or any passenger of the vehicle which becomes unusable on the public highway or the road or the vehicle which becomes unusable on public roads or roads, or both.
Simply put, if you’re driving in a clearly marked and boarded up flooded area, and you need a rescue, you pay the rescue bill. Bonus: Your name and face will appear all over the news and on social media, and everyone will know that you are a “stupid motorist”.
Just turn around and find an alternative route. Do not put yourself, your passengers or rescuers in danger.
Play it safe. Be prepared and follow the authorities’ instructions. Enjoy the rain in complete safety.
Join Rosie on the House every Saturday morning from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. on KTAR News 92.3 FM. If you would like to send us questions or comments, send an email to mailto: [email protected] Follow us on Twitter and “Like us” on Facebook. For more DIY tips, visit rosieonthehouse.com. An expert in the Arizona home construction and remodeling industry since 1988, Rosie Romero is the host of the syndicated radio show Rosie Saturday Morning on House Radio. Call 888-767-4348 with questions and comments.