Flooding possible in Arizona on Wednesday; officials urge community to use caution

Fire departments say a common call is for people who are attempting to cross flooded roads in a car. Officials say people need to stay vigilant.
Published: Mar. 14, 2023 at 9:06 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Emergency officials are urging people to be extra cautious with a Flood Watch and Flood Warnings issued by the National Weather Service for areas south of the Mogollon Rim. They say washes and roads can dry one minute, only to be flooded and impassable minutes later.

On busy weather days, many fire departments say a common call is for people who are attempting to cross flooded roads in a car. With a rainy day expected Wednesday, officials say people need to stay vigilant.

Meteorologist Tony Merriman with the National Weather Service says with active weather, the message is clear. “Never drive in a flooded roadway. It’s not worth It,” Merriman said.

But still, some make the mistake. For example, yesterday, a jeep in Oak Creek in Cornville was almost completely underwater as those currents pushed right past it, flowing over the hood! Rescuers say the jeep was about a hundred yards downstream from a crossing where signs warned drivers not to pass due to flooding. Thankfully, no one was hurt.

“Just a few inches of water will stall a vehicle and create a hazardous environment for not only occupants of vehicles but rescuers as well,” Sedona Fire District Fire Chief Ed Mezulis said. “It’s an hour-by-hour watch to see what Mother Nature brings us.” It’s been an active winter across the state. Because of snowmelt, some creeks, rivers, and streams are flooding, in some cases in normally dry places.

So with snowmelt and now the rain in the forecast, flood watches and warnings have been issued for tomorrow south of the Mogollon Rim. “If we have additional rainfall like we are looking at for the next day or two that’ll contribute to more elevated flows and flooded of creeks and streams,” Merriman said.

Mezulis says Sedona and the Verde Valley have been busy with spring break this week. He says you need to be prepared if you’re planning to hit the trails. “You’ll cross through washes and those can be dry one minute and flooding for hours the next so be prepared bring water, have a charged cellphone, make sure you have something to snack on and rain protection.”