Monsoon Watch 360: Flash Flooding


by April Warnecke

Bio | Email | Follow: @AprilWarnecke

Posted on June 6, 2014 at 12:59 PM

Updated Friday, Jun 6 at 1:02 PM

The monsoon season can bring dust, heat, thunderstorms and lightning, but one of the biggest dangers can be flash flooding.

Over the last few years, we've seen motorists get stuck or swept away in busses, ambulances, cars and trucks. The rescues are dramatic and oftentimes unnecessary.

In Arizona, the Stupid Motorist Law means drivers can be fined and charged with the cost of their rescue if they drive around a barricade in a flooded area.

But sometimes people get caught in flooded areas before barricades have been put up.

Officer Russ Dodge with the Department of Public Safety has been on countless rescues with the victims ranging from small children to the elderly and all ages in between.

Dodge says not all rescues end well, and sometimes the endings are heartbreaking.

"I don't know that you can ever describe the feelings of seeing the recovery of one of those because it is a very, very horrible death," says Dodge.

He says if the storms are still going on, the rescue helicopter cannot always fly and that means they can't get to the victims.

Dodge and his crew are ready to go for the upcoming monsoon season, but hopes people will think twice before driving through water.

"Just because the crossing isn't marked doesn't mean it's not hazardous. And wait an hour, most of our flash floods will go away within an hour to an hour and a half and it's not worth risking your life to be an hour hour and a half late."