Monsoon 2022: Heavy rain causes flooding in parts of Globe-Miami area
MIAMI, Ariz. - Besides Apache Junction, severe monsoon weather brought flooding to Globe, an area that has dealt with a lot of damaging flooding issues in 2021.
Fash moving storms quickly started pouring down the mountain nearly Blood Tanks Wash, and then traveled into town, filling the washes.
While the washes filled up fast, they did exactly what they were meant to do: diverting rainfall and carrying it away, so that it doesn’t flood in the places where it shouldn’t.
Residents in the area took precautions nonetheless.
"I prepare all the time it’s best to worry about the roofs when it’s not raining," said Allan Palmer. "It's up on a hill, tilted in towards the doors, so they're going to come in handy."
Miami residents brace for more storms one year after catastrophic flooding
"My first thought seeing the rise of the water… here we go again, to the exact day of the anniversary," Miami Mayor Sammy Gonzales said.
The Bloody Tanks Wash that runs through downtown Miami filled up with runoff water in just a matter of minutes.
The wash is more likely to turn into a raging river during monsoon season because of the Telegraph Fire, which sparked in the mountains in June 2021. The wildfire left Globe and Miami with a severe risk of flooding.
"Because of the Telegraph scar, [in] previous years we never had an issue with [the] monsoon," Gonzales said. "Because of the runoff we had, that leaves us susceptible up to five years."
After Thursday's storm, crews quickly went to work, clearing the wash in preparation for the next storm.
"So as soon as the water rescinded, we were able to get into the drains and wash and clear out any debris that might be in there to hold back the water," Gonzales added.
Scattered thunderstorms are in the forecast for the Miami-Globe area for Friday and Saturday, adding up to three back-to-back days of the potential for extreme flash flooding.
"All you can do is cross your fingers and hope it doesn't get too quick amount of rainfall in a short amount of time," Gonzales said. "We can handle spurts of rain, but when it comes in heavy in a short amount of time, that's when we get into trouble."
Around this time last year, monsoon storms caused the closure of Highway 60 for hours in this area because of catastrophic flooding. Right now, a Flood Watch remains in effect through Friday evening.
Burn scars exacerbate flooding concerns in the area
So far this monsoon season, Globe, along with nearby Miami, have had their fair share of rainfall, but until July 28, not much rain fell on the burn scar that was created by the Telegraph Fire.
The Telegraph Fire burned more than 180,000 acres of land in the summer of 2021. After the fire, the scorched ground was left hydrophobic. The ground was basically water-repellent, and ultimately caused severe flooding during monsoon season.
Gila County Emergency Manager Carl Melford said since 2021, they have been working diligently to clear out the debris and mud from the washes around town in order to avoid issues that come with flooding.
Melford said so far, the measures are working.
"Our top priority with mitigation was increasing the capacity, the flood capacity of the washes," said Melford. "A lot of the issue that we had last year that caused the flooding was a build up of debris and just brush, because these are fairly inactive washes on a normal year, so a lot of work was done to clean those washes out."
Gila County officials are providing free sandbags to anyone who needs them. Sandbags are also deployed out to neighborhoods that are most at risk.
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Rain/flood safety tips
The American Red Cross' tips for heavy rain situations and flood safety:
- Turn around don’t drown! If you must drive and you encounter a flooded roadway, turn around and go another way.
- If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising rapidly around you, get out of the car quickly and move to higher ground.
- Tune in to your local radio, NOAA radio, or news channels for the latest updates.
- If your neighborhood is prone to flooding, be prepared to evacuate quickly.
- Follow evacuation orders and do not attempt to return until officials say it is safe.
- If power lines are down, do not step in puddles or standing water.
- If power is out, use a flashlight. Do not use any open flame as alternate lighting.