Areas of northern Arizona under evacuation orders due to severe flooding

People who were told to evacuate from various parts of Northern Arizona due to flooding on Mar. 22 are returning home to flooded properties on Mar. 23.

On Mar. 22, Winter weather advisories were issued for parts of central, northwest and northeast Arizona with the Flagstaff area forecast to get up to 3 inches of snow.

Almost every waterway in Yavapai County and in neighboring Gila County was flooded, according to the National Weather Service.

"This is probably the craziest I have ever seen it," says Lisa Page. "This is the highest it’s been, so we have a lot of people who want to look at the river right now, and it's very interesting."

Playground equipment was carried away in the water, while backyard decks soon became docks. Fortunately for Page, she lives further inland, but she’s trying to do the neighborly thing and offer a helping hand.

"I live in a place where I am not on the river, so if anybody has horses and wants to bring them to my house, they are welcome to. We have lots of room for different horses around here if anybody needs it. We care about our animals," Page said.

"It was awful," said Charles Cole. "We were watching the river come up, of course, and it comes up to the bank, and then generally just threatens us."

"It came up so quick that I called a couple of friends of mine. I had about 10 people here and they just started pulling stuff out," said Mike McReynolds.

People slowly returning to their homes

As evacuation orders lift, people in Camp Verde are returning to a bit of a mess that was left behind by floodwaters.

"I just wasn't prepared for something like this," said McReynolds.

McReynolds had to immediately take on a project the seconf he opened the front door to his home.

"It's destroyed," said McReynolds. "I got water in 6 inches at least, so we have to pull everything out. The carpet and all the walls, we have to redo."

Cole, McReynolds' next-door neighbor, is dealing with lesser damage. His home sits on higher ground.

"All the fencing now is pushed over, and it's going to be hectic to get cleaned and put back up, but it's something we got to do," said Cole.

Flood warnings 

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Flooding in Sedona along Oak Creek. (City of Sedona Government)

Flood Warnings in effect:

  • Areas along Tonto Creek, Hassayampa, Salt, Verde and New Rivers, particularly along Granite Reef Dam

The Yavapai County Sheriff's Office said there is major flooding near Rimrock, Lake Montezuma and areas along Wet Beaver Creek.

Evacuation orders

Evacuations are in effect for the following areas:

  • Cottonwood residents on Bates Road with standing water

Areas in SET status, which means residents need to be prepared to leave at a moment's notice:

  • Cottonwood and Bridgeport residents in low-lying areas along the Verde River
  • Sedona
  • Cornville at low elevations along Oak Creek including Lo Lo Mai, Sunrise RV Resort and low-lying houses in Lower Oak Creek Estates

Call 911 for emergencies and if you need information on weather or evacuation orders, you're asked to call the phone bank at 928-442-5103.

More information on emergency orders for Yavapai County can be found here.

More information on emergency orders for Coconino County can be found here.

Besides prompting evacuations, floodwaters are causing concerns over its impact on human health, as officials in the Prescott area believe water in nearby creeks could be contaminated with leaking sewage.

Officials did say, however, that drinking water won't be impacted, as it is in a closed system in Prescott.

Crews were working to clean up Granite Creek Park in the Prescott area on Mar. 22. That is where officials believe the contamination happened.

Evacuation center map:

Road closures

The following highways are closed due to "adverse weather" and rockslides, according to the Arizona Dept. of Transportation.

  • SR 89A between Sedona and Flagstaff (MP 375-398)

Coconino National Forest issued closures in the areas of:

  • West Fork/Call of the Canyon
  • Grasshopper Day Use
  • Chavez Group Camp
  • Beaver Creek Day Use

Footage of flooded bodies of water:

The AP contributed to this report.