Flooding is likely in Arizona as waterways rise due to rain, snow: What to know

The latest storm system making its way through northern Arizona brought more snow to Flagstaff throughout the day Tuesday, while lower elevations continued to receive rain, adding even more precipitation and snowmelt to already overflowing waterways.

Evacuation orders were issued Tuesday afternoon for Rimrock and Lake Montezuma residents along Wet Beaver Creek and Camp Verde residents in low-lying areas along West Clear Creek. An emergency evacuation center has been set up at 395 S. Main St. in Camp Verde.

According to National Weather Service meteorologist Mark Stubblefield, increased flows can be expected in "virtually every drainage off the Mogollon Rim headed south."

For example, he said, the Verde River is forecast to rise another 10 feet by this time Wednesday with fast-moving water.

"We're looking at flows through the Verde (River) three times what the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon has, on average," he said.

Oak Creek, where flooding prompted evacuations last week, is also forecast to rise another 2.5 feet over the next 24 hours, Stubblefield said.

Right now, officials were advising residents near Oak Creek to continue monitoring the situation while being prepared to leave, if needed.

"You need to be alert because there is significant danger and residents should consider voluntarily relocating outside the affected area," said Sedona spokesperson Lauren Browne. "There are no reports of people trapped or who need help at the moment, but we are watching the flood levels closely and will put people in 'GO' status to evacuate, if necessary."

"Even though it's snowing on the higher elevations, there's enough of the basin that's getting the rain that it has reacted quite a bit since yesterday afternoon," he said.

Flood advisories are in effect for large areas south of the Mogollon Rim through Wednesday, including Bagdad, Prescott, Sedona, Camp Verde and Payson.

How do I stay safe during storms and flooding?

Coconino County officials offered the following tips online and advised residents to prepare for approaching storms and potential flooding threats. They further recommended that residents sign up for emergency alerts and remember to stay in READY status for potential emergencies.

  • Protect your property from floodwaters and purchase flood insurance.

  • Plan for sheltering where you are and for evacuation.

  • Evacuate if advised.

  • Seek high ground (flash floods) or stay on high ground.

  • Avoid walking or driving in floodwaters.

  • Depth and velocity are not always obvious; the ground or road may suddenly wash away and hidden dangers may exist; do not attempt to evacuate through flood waters.

  • Know how to avoid injury from debris, contaminated water, carbon monoxide poisoning, electrocution, and damaged buildings and infrastructure.

  • Seek professional review or inspection of structures and utilities before entering buildings that are flooded.

Contact northern Arizona reporter Lacey Latch at LLatch@gannett.com or on social media @laceylatch. Coverage of northern Arizona on azcentral.com and in The Arizona Republic is funded by the nonprofit Report for America and a grant from the Vitalyst Health Foundation in association with The Arizona Republic.

This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Flooding is likely in Arizona as rivers rise after storm: What to know