Flagstaff Deluged With Flooding For Second Day

Published: Thursday, July 15, 2021 - 8:21am
Updated: Thursday, July 15, 2021 - 1:55pm

Flood waters have invaded Flagstaff for a second day, leaving some roads unpassable and some residential streets looking like rivers.

Coconino County Emergency Management officials issued a shelter-in-place order Wednesday afternoon in the wake of major flooding. Residents were warned to move to higher ground and, under no circumstances, enter flood waters. Neighborhoods east of Flagstaff were primarily impacted, the Arizona Republic reported.

The National Weather Service issued flash flood warnings for Flagstaff, Doney Park and Winona through the late afternoon.

Videos residents shared on social media include footage of flowing water sending a Toyota Prius sailing down a street.

The rushing waters were expected as a byproduct of a burn scar caused by a wildfire two years ago, according to the Arizona Daily Sun. The scarred area is a few miles northwest of where flooding occurred a day earlier.

Receding waters, meanwhile, have left streets with debris and clogged drains.

The potential risk for flooding will likely be lingering. Meteorologists predict chances for rain through next Tuesday.

The National Weather Service in Flagstaff says heavy rains fell on a burn scar left behind from the 2019 Museum Fire. Burn scars linger long after forest fires are extinguished and can threaten homes and residents due to their potential to cause flash flooding. 

The flooding in Flagstaff is not due to those burn scars. Rather, it is heavy rain in other areas that have caused the floods, according to Darren McCollum at the National Weather Service

“The flooding in Flagstaff had nothing to do actually with the Museum Fire scar," said McCollum. "It was actually heavy rain on the slopes of Mt. Elden, which is a mountain on the northern fringe of Flagstaff.” 

The potential for more flooding remains. Two to two and a half inches of rain in one hour Wednesday sparked the flooding and more heavy rains are expected through Tuesday. Because the ground is already saturated, less rain is needed to spark more flooding. 

“If we get heavy storms like yesterday, or maybe not even as heavy rain-producing as that, we are going to see some localized flash flooding," said McCollum.  

In response to the flooding, Coconino County Emergency Officials today have issued a shelter-in-place order for residents in the area. 

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