Historic rainfall on Flagstaff area burn scar induces flooding

Aug 18, 2021, 6:39 AM | Updated: 8:25 am
(Screenshot/City of Flagstaff Facebook)...
(Screenshot/City of Flagstaff Facebook)
(Screenshot/City of Flagstaff Facebook)

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — Officials in northern Arizona are reporting that historic levels of rainfall on the burn scar of a large wildfire two years ago have created a significant danger for Flagstaff residents, with surging waters pouring Tuesday afternoon into neighborhoods and rushing down streets past houses protected by piles of sandbags.

Hourly precipitation of more than 3 inches Tuesday along the southern part of the scar was described by the Coconino County Flood Control District as a “200 to 500 year rainfall event.”

Lesser, but still significant levels of rain were recorded in other areas of the water-repellent scar, which was fully soaked Tuesday afternoon.

No one has been reported hurt, and the damage to public infrastructure remains unknown from the rivers of muddy water dragging down large rocks and wildfire debris like trunks, pine needles and scorched trees.

Area schools Tuesday afternoon asked parents to wait an extra half hour or more for safety reasons to pick their children up after classes.

“I think we may see some significant damage, and maybe even flooding to houses, but we will not know until we are done cleaning up,” said Flagstaff city spokeswoman Jessica Drum.

She said heavy flooding last month caused about $5 million in damage to local public infrastructure like storm drains and roads.

Heavy rainfall has been pretty regular in the area since mid-July, when Flagstaff residents saw the first flooding after the start of Arizona’s annual monsoon season.

“The area remains at real risk for repetitive, heavy flooding,” Drum said.

Flash flooding is possible mostly in Coconino County through Tuesday evening, with thunderstorms diminishing overnight.

Prefilled sandbags were being made available to help protect property from flooding amid forecasts of additional rain.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

(Arizona Department of Transportation photo)...
Associated Press

Should federal grants be in favor of highway repair over expansion?

Advocates for highway construction are concerned their projects are getting shortchanged in the competition for grant money under the new infrastructure law.
22 hours ago
(Photo by Rebecca Noble/Getty Images)...

Weekend wrap-up: Here are the biggest Arizona stories from Jan. 27-29

Arizona Republicans elected Jeff DeWit as their new party chair and an arrest was made in the Scottsdale Molotav cocktail incidents. Here are the weekend's biggest stories.
22 hours ago
(Facebook Photo/Phoenix Police Department)...

Man dies nearly a month after allegedly being shot by teenager near Phoenix bus stop

Authorities said 51-year-old Shawn Hall died from his injuries nearly a month after he was shot by a teenager near a bus stop in Phoenix.
22 hours ago
A rain cloud hangs over Lake Powell on June 24, 2021 in Page, Arizona. As severe drought grips part...
Alex Weiner

Recent precipitation aids Arizona’s short-term drought, long-term issues persist

Arizona has experienced more rain and snow than normal this winter, which weather experts say has improved the state's short-term drought. 
22 hours ago
The Colorado River flows by the historic Navajo Bridge on June 23, 2021 in Marble Canyon, Arizona. ...
Associated Press

Emails reveal serious tensions in Colorado River talks

Competing priorities, outsized demands and the federal government's retreat from a threatened deadline stymied a deal last summer on how to drastically reduce water use from the parched Colorado River.
22 hours ago
(Silver Sky Development Photo)...

Developer plans new luxury home community in Paradise Valley

A local luxury home developer is planning to build a new community in Paradise Valley at the base of Mummy Mountain.
22 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet edges out cable for everyday use

In a world where technology drives so much of our daily lives, a lack of high-speed internet can be a major issue.
(Desert Institute for Spine Care photo)...

Why DISC is world renowned for back and neck pain treatments

Fifty percent of Americans and 90% of people at least 50 years old have some level of degenerative disc disease.
(Photo via MLB's Arizona Fall League / Twitter)...
Arizona Fall League

Top prospects to watch at this year’s Arizona Fall League

One of the most exciting elements of the MLB offseason is the Arizona Fall League, which began its 30th season Monday.
Historic rainfall on Flagstaff area burn scar induces flooding