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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Had It Up To Here With High Water

By now it’s safe to assume that most know about the not-so-long-ago troubles reeked on the City of Sedona courtesy of Mother Nature.

On the afternoon of Sept. 10, Sedona took a metaphorical stiff right jab to the chin. In under an hour, a system of thunderstorms dumped between .5 and 3 inches of rain on Sedona, causing flash flooding, the worst of which struck West Sedona, and Tlaquepaque Arts and Crafts Village.

Photos and video shot by “Johnny-on-the-spot” citizen journalist provided the first dramatic images of racing water, parking lots turned marshes, and stacked cars. (Photo Credit: Christopher Fox Graham)

About a week ago, I hitched a ride with folks from the Arizona Division of Emergency Management (ADEM) Recovery Office to tour areas impacted by flood waters and debris for a Preliminary Damage Assessment (PDA).

Two weeks after the fact, much of Tlaquepaque and West Sedona appeared back to normal; however, appearances aren't always the truest litmus test as it will take time before things are like they were. The good news is that there was no loss of life and that those I met are resolved to returning to equilibrium come drizzle, shower or deluge.

So here’s the part where I delicately bludgeon the reader with a not-so-veiled emergency preparedness message; this time we’re talking flood.
Now, I come from Lancaster County, Pa. In Pennsylvania, all good grade-schoolers learn about the "Great Flood" and fire of 1889 that resulted from the collapse of the South Fork Dam and killed over 2,000 in Johnstown, Pa. It's kind of a big deal. Visit the Johnstown Flood Museum if you ever find yourself passing through Western Pennsylvania.
I digress. Here comes that aforementioned "bludgeoning."

What HOMEOWNERS need to know about FLOODING:
· Floods are the most common hazard in Arizona.
· Make a Plan, Build a Kit and Be Informed so ready to go in at a moment’s notice.
· Rate your risk and buy flood insurance accordingly.
What DRIVERS need to know about FLOODING:
· Six (6) inches of rushing water is enough to …
o sweep a person off their feet, and
o reach the bottom of most passenger cars, causing loss of control and possible stalling.
· One (1) foot of water is enough to disable and float many vehicles
· Two (2) feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles, including sport utility vehicles (SUV’s) and pick-ups.
Putting it Plain: If there’s water where there isn’t normally water, and you’re neither Aquaman nor driving a James Bond sportscar/submarine combo, don’t attempt to drive through it … turn around.

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