Flagstaff setting up flood warning sirens around Museum Fire neighborhoods

Street flooding during a monsoon storm from the 2019 Museum fire
Street flooding during a monsoon storm from the 2019 Museum fire(AZFamily)
Published: May. 20, 2022 at 12:49 PM MST
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FLAGSTAFF, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - It’s been almost a year since a river of mud and debris from the Museum Fire’s burn scar tore through neighborhoods in Flagstaff. This summer, emergency managers hope a new warning system will give much-needed alert to those living near the potential flood zone.

The joint construction project by the City of Flagstaff and Coconino County calls for four different sirens to be placed above the residents of Grandview Homes and Sunnyside neighborhoods.

Whenever rainfall reaches the point of a needed flood alert, the system will launch an alarm sound, and a voice message will repeat three times in both English and Spanish. The installation process will continue throughout May, and testing and training will happen in June. This new system is part of the city’s efforts to prevent future flooding. In April, the construction of several water detention bases began, including efforts to renovate and rebuild Killip Elementary School a few feet higher in elevation. The basins also act as multi-purpose sports fields. The school is expected to re-open by August.

Flash flooding is a real concern for Arizona residents. Monsoon in Arizona lasts from around the second week of June to the end of September. However, the Valley doesn’t get its summer thunderstorms until around July 4, which lasts until around Labor Day weekend. The wind shift and increase in moisture combine with the surface low pressure from the desert heat to produce storms in a cycle of “bursts” (heavy thunderstorm rainfall) and “breaks” (reduced rainfall). Before the rain comes down, shifting winds can stir dust storms that can climb to 5,000 feet in height and stretch out to 100 miles or more.

If you’re new to Arizona and want to learn more about what to expect during monsoon season, click here.