Residents sandbag homes as rain moves into Valley

Posted: Updated:
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

MESA, Ariz. -- With more rain in the forecast this week, water-weary residents who are still cleaning up after last week's flooding are doing what they can to protect their homes and property.

Thanks to Hurricane Odile, there is a chance of rain every day this week after Monday.

"Hurricane Odile has made landfall in the Baja Peninsula and it is working its way up toward Arizona right now," 3TV meteorologist April Warnecke said Monday morning as she explained that the heaviest rain would likely come in several rounds Wednesday and Thursday. The National Weather Service issued a Flash Flood Watch for Phoenix and other parts of Arizona Wednesday morning through Thursday afternoon.

Although Odile will not be a hurricane, or even a tropical storm, by the time it gets here, the weather pattern will have an impact.

With rainfall totals between 1 and 5 inches, Warnecke said there is a potential for more flooding.

The rain will not end Thursday, however. Showers are in the forecast through the weekend.

The remnants for Hurricane Norbert brought record rainfall last Monday -- it was the wettest day on record -- and caused Valleywide flooding.

The Mesa neighborhood near Harris Drive and Hilton Avenue, which is northwest of Gilbert Road and the Superstition Freeway, was one of the hardest hit areas.

While Emerald Park is designed to handle flood water, last week's storms were too much. More than 100 homes flooded when the retention basin overflowed.

"We've never got that kind of rain before, since I've lived out here," one man told 3TV's Jill Galus as he loaded his pickup with sandbags provided by the city.

"We want to make sure these neighborhood have everything that they need," Mesa spokesman Steve Wright said.

While the city is supplying sandbags, officials recommend residents get flood insurance before the storm hits.

Residents in several neighborhoods are picking up sandbags as fast as the cities can stock them.

The Town of Queen Creek tweeted just before 8 a.m. Tuesday that it was out of sandbags. Fire Station 2 had a delivery of 300 sandbags Monday evening, but they went quickly. Officials expected to have more later in the day.

With an eye on the forecast, the city of Mesa has been in preparation mode since Monday.

"We’re monitoring all the drainage systems here," Capt. Forrest Smith of the Mesa Fire and Medical Department told 3TV's Ryan O'Donnell. "We're monitoring all of the retention basins and making sure that whatever water is in there, we're continuing to pump out. That way, if there is a great deal of water or flooding, we'll have at least a little bit wiggle room."

He described last week's rain and subsequent flooding as "unprecedented."

"Our goal now is to see if we can get ahead of it," he said.

Warren Sprecher of Mesa's Community Emergency response Team advised people to have enough food, water and supplies on hand to last 72 hours. "You want at least one gallon of water per day per person," he said. "Don't forget about food and water for your pets, as well."

Sprecher also suggested residents double check the batteries in their flashlights and get a crank-operated or battery-powered radio so they can stay up to date should there be an extended loss of power like there was last week.

Finally, an emergency portable toilet might be a good thing to have in your preparedness kit.

The Red Cross suggests you also have a basic first-aid kit, a multi-purpose tool, copies of important personal documents like IDs and insurance policies, and some extra cash.

Smith said residents should make sure their cell phones are charged and suggested investing in spare batteries.

Smith also said residents impacted by recent flooding can go to a resource center the city set up at Fire Station 202, 830 S. Stapley. For more information, call 480-644-2800 or email mesaric@mesaaz.gov.

Mesa residents are not the only ones concerned about the storms heading our way.

People who live near South Mountain spent Monday morning filling sandbags, hoping to keep water out of their homes.

One resident said standing water after the storms is as big a problem as keeping her home from flooding.

"The mosquitoes are horrendous," she told 3TV's Jill Galus.

Recent weeks have been rough for homeowners in the area.

"It's been pretty bad," one man said as he shoveled sand into bags. "I've got to do something to protect my house because I don't have flood insurance."

He is concerned about the possibility that his home might flood -- again.

"I just can't, I can't take that again," he said. "I don't know what I'll do."