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Flooding is a 12-Month Possibility

Flooding is a 12-Month Possibility
January 17
11:10 2017

What is the most common hazard in Arizona? According to the Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs, it’s flooding.ADEMA LOGO

“And in the entire United States, actually,” said the department’s Public Information Officer, Aprille Slutsky. “Arizona experiences somewhere between forty and a hundred floods, throughout the state each year.”

Some of them are relatively insignificant, but there are also catastrophic ones, all across the state, she points out.

“Be Flood Aware; Prepare.”

That’s a new campaign being promoted across Arizona by Aprille’s office. It’s aimed particularly at those who live in the state’s flood-prone areas.

“We really want Arizonans to understand their flood risk,” said Slutsky. “This campaign affects everybody across the state.”

What makes an area prone to floods? She tells us that in many cases we determine the “where.”

“A lot of developments were made in river basins or creek valleys, and our ground is also a problem when it comes to flooding,” she added. “The rain doesn’t soak into the ground very quickly, so monsoon storms, winter storms, heavy rain in a region damaged by fire; all these things can cause flooding.”

Construction can also make an area more prone to flooding, according to Slutsky.

Slutsky told Lake Powell Communications that flooding does not always occur at the times of year when you might expect; during monsoons and winter storms.

“Here in Arizona we’ve seen flooding happen in the spring time, the summer, obviously, in the fall time and in the winter. It happens all year round.”

And when it comes to flooding there’s something else that can happen that can be, and has been, horrific in nature.

“You can be enjoying a hike on a sunny day, and a lot of people in Arizona enjoy the slot canyons. But it could be raining a mile away and be sunny where you are, and that water is going to find a place to go,” she said. “And those slot canyons are perfect downhill carriers of that water, and it could come flying at you.”

As an example, in August 1997 eleven tourists were swept away by a flash flood in Lower Antelope Canyon.

Insurance is an important issue, as well, when discussing flooding anywhere, according to the state’s Department of Emergency and Military Affairs.

“Part of understanding your flood risk is knowing if your property or where you live is prone to flooding,” said Slutsky.

She tells us of a national website that has flood-hazard maps: www.floodsmart.gov

Closer to home, Arizona has a website with much of the information Aprille Slutsky is talking about:

ein.az.gov/flood-risk

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