Floodwaters rush through Flagstaff area, causing residents to flee


by Jennifer Thomas and The Associated Press


Posted on July 20, 2010 at 3:22 PM

Updated Thursday, Oct 31 at 3:48 PM

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. -- Thunderstorms sent floodwaters rushing through communities north of Flagstaff on Tuesday afternoon, causing dozens of residents to flee from their homes.

The communities are particularly prone to flooding after the Schultz fire burned more than 15,000 acres nearby.

Coconino County emergency officials issued emergency notifications to 900 residents, urging them to seek higher ground. It is not immediately known how many residents evacuated their homes.

People in the area are advised to stay on high ground and not cross running water.

The Red Cross is setting up a shelter for area residents who are unable to get to their homes at Cromer Elementary School, 7150 Silver Saddle Road. Residents who are currently in their homes and feel safe to remain there are encouraged to shelter in place. Residents who feel they are in danger should call the Sheriff's Office at 928-774-4523.

The National Weather Service in Flagstaff had issued a small stream flood advisory for central Coconino County in north central Arizona. Just after noon Tuesday, radar indicated very heavy rainfall over the advisory area.

Excessive runoff from heavy rainfall was expected to cause elevated levels on small creeks, streams and normally dry washes.

The Arizona Department of Transportation closed Highway 89 northbound at milepost 422 and southbound at milepost 430 due to the flooding for a short while, but by 6 p.m. it was re-opened.

If conditions worsen again the highway could be closed again until the danger of flooding has passed.

ADOT does not recommend any alternate routes; drivers should wait until the highway reopens. The Department of Public Safety is assisting Coconino County sheriff's deputies with the road closure.

For current travel conditions, call 5-1-1 within Arizona, 1-888-411-ROAD outside the state, or log on to www.az511.gov.