USA – Emergency Declared After Deadly Flash Floods in Arizona

The state of Arizona declared a state of emergency for areas affected by Monsoon storms and flash flooding. Flooding has damaged roads and homes, while one person has died in the floods in the Grand Canyon National Park.

Flood debris in Flagstaff Arizona, July 2021. Photo: Flagstaff City Government

The City of Flagstaff was among the hardest hit areas. Torrents of water raced down the slopes surrounding the city, swamping streets from 13 July. Local observers said rain fell on burn scar areas in the hills surrounding Flagstaff and flowed swiftly towards the city below. Images shared on Social Media showed flood water dragging at least one vehicle along the street of a residential area.

Flagstaff and the surrounding Coconino County declared a local state of emergency. On 16 July, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey declared an emergency at state level making available up to $200,000 for response efforts.

The governor said, “Severe post-wildfire flooding is creating dangerous challenges for communities in Northern Arizona. The flooding is causing road closures, damaging property and putting Arizonans’ safety at risk. This Declaration of Emergency will give those working to protect others the tools they need to keep our communities safe.

“We will continue to work closely with local officials and safety personnel to protect people, pets and property throughout Arizona. My sincere thanks goes to everyone working to protect fellow Arizonans during this emergency.”

Heavy rain also caused flooding in areas of Tucson, where emergency teams were called on to rescue people from stranded vehicles. On 14 July, Golder Ranch Fire District said “firefighters had a busy morning! Along with the lightning strike to the house, they safely rescued a man and his two daughters from the roof of their vehicle after it was swept away in fast moving water. So thankful that no one was hurt and everyone went home safe.”

US National Weather Service Flagstaff Arizona said the state has seen a wet start to the 2021 Monsoon season, with more rain recorded in Flagstaff so far than was seen in the whole of the Monsoon season (June to September) last year.

Comparison of Monsoon rainfall in Arizona 2020 to 2021. Image: National Weather Service Flagstaff Arizona

Grand Canyon National Park reported one member of a rafting trip died and several were injured after flash floods impacted Tatahatso Camp near River Mile 38 on the Colorado River. An investigation into the incident is being conducted by the National Park Service in coordination with the Coconino County Medical Examiner. No additional information is available at this time, Grand Canyon National Park said.

Flooding previously affected parts of Arizona state on 02 July. Cochise County Search and Rescue Team said they rescued 2 people caught in flash floods near Benson.

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