Heavy rainfall, monsoons, soil erosion, and environmental nuances can cause flash flooding. Indeed, the quick water release from melting snow along the Tonto Basin River causes blockages to passage every year. In 2014, flash floods claimed the lives of a number of people — along with numerous personal injuries and property damage incidences.
While it’s difficult to predict when a flash flood may occur, it’s easy to make some plans to prepare for them.
Before a Flood
- Create a Ready Kit and family communications plan. Set a plan to evacuate, handle pets and neighbors who may need help, and meet up after an evacuation order. Choose a meeting point outside the immediate area and away from the flood zone.
- Know the likelihood of flash floods in your area. Contact your Gila County emergency management authorities or insurance company, or visit www.floodsmart.gov to assess your risk. If your risk is high, consider adding flood damage protection to your homeowner’s policy, as it is not typically covered.
- Stay abreast of pending issues by using alerts and apps.
- Move your furniture and valuables to higher floors of your home.
- Be prepared to shut off power to your home.
- Determine an out-of-town contact. It may be easier to text or call long distance if local phone lines are out of service. Program all emergency contacts into family members’ mobile phones.
During a Flood
- Closely monitor a local radio station, TV station, NOAA Weather Radio or this site for urgent messages.
- Follow the instructions of local officials. If advised to evacuate, do so immediately.
- Do not drive around barricades or through standing water. It takes only one foot of rain accumulation to sweep away a car in floodwaters. Such incidents account for more than half of all flood victims.
- Stay out of floodwaters, as they may be electrically charged from downed power lines or utility issues. If your car gets stalled in waters, exit immediately, if it is safe to do so. Move to higher ground away from rivers, streams, creeks, and storm drains.
- Stay away from downed power lines, bridges, or any damaged structure.
After a Flood
- Stay tuned to developments through apps, radios, or your other tools. Do NOT return to your home until local emergency authorities say it is safe to do so.
- In significant floods, roadways and buildings can be damaged, and local utilities and water supplies can be compromised. Listen to emergency authorities and comply with their mandates.