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Posted on: August 17, 2021

200- to 500-Year Rainfall Event Hits Museum Fire Burn Scar

Museum Flood Area 200- to 500-Year Event - August 17 2021_20210817_150156

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — At approximately 12:15 p.m. today, rain began to fall over the Museum Fire Burn Scar. By the time the large storm system moved out of the area, the entire burn area was saturated, resulting in the largest rainfall event to date.

The gauges located throughout the burn scar recorded hourly rainfall as follows: 3.07 inches in south gauge, 2.4 inches in western gauge, 1.5 inches in the eastern gauge, .75 inches at northern gauge. In addition, the rainfall was intense with over 1.14 inches recorded in at the south and west gauges in 15 minutes and 1.06 inches recorded at the east gauge. Not only was significant rainfall experienced on the burn scar itself, but also in the Sunnyside neighborhood. In an hour, 1.22 inches fell at Linda Vista and 1.5 inches was recorded downstream in neighborhoods. The rainfall recorded at the south gauge equates to a 200- to 500-year rainfall event.

The rainfall over the entirety of the burn scar, combined with the significant rainfall in the neighborhood, resulted in flooding that closed roads and overtopped mitigation. Significant debris was seen in the storm water given that a large area of the burn scar had not previously experienced heavy rainfall. 

The Coconino County Flood Control District and the City of Flagstaff have mobilized all resources and will begin cleanup operations as soon as the water recedes.

As a reminder to residents:

  • STEP BACK: Today, residents were seen observing the flash flood flows very close to the water. This is extremely dangerous. There can be surges in flows, which can easily sweep people, particularly children off their feet. Do not get close to the flood water. 
  • DEBRIS ON PROPERTY: If you have debris on your property, then you should move the debris to the street if you are able. This will help County and City Public Works crews sweep the debris with their heavy equipment. If you need assistance with debris removal, then contact the Call Center. The City will work with United Way to mobilize volunteers. 
  • SANDBAGS: Pre-filled sandbags are available at the north side of Cal Ranch. 
  • PARKED CARS: If you live on one of the streets that has debris as a result of the flood, then please do not park your car on the streets. Parked cars on these streets prevent the sandbags from doing their job—protecting your property.
  • MORE RAIN:Additional rain is expected. Residents in the area need to be alert and be prepared to shelter in place. Charge your phones. Assemble a Stay Kit with the following:
    1. First aid kit
    2. Pet supplies
    3. Manual can opener
    4. Cell phone & charger
    5. Personal hygiene items 
    6. Cash (e.g., small bills and coins)
    7. Flashlight(s) with extra batteries
    8. 72 hours' worth of food and water
    9. Copy of Family Communication Plan
    10. Battery-powered or hand-crank radio
    11. Prescription medications and eyeglasses
    12. Important papers (e.g., insurance and financial)
  • TRACK WEATHER: For the latest Museum Fire scar weather conditions and NWS notifications please visit https://www.weather.gov/fgz/MuseumFireFloodRisk
  • SIGN UP FOR EMERGENCY ALERTS: www.coconino.az.gov/ready 
  • MUSEUM FLOOD AREA CALL CENTER: The Call Center is operational daily. Hours of operation may shift depending on any weather events that may occur. The number is 928-679-8525.
  • STAY IN TOUCH: Coconino County and the City of Flagstaff are providing updates on our websites and social media: coconino.az.govtwitter.com/coconinocounty, and facebook.com/coconinocountyflagstaff.az.gov, facebook.com/CityofFlagstaff

If you would like to be added to this email distribution list, please send an email to museumfloodinfo@coconino.az.gov

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