Monsoon raises risks for drivers, property owners

Water can rise rapidly during the monsoon as seen in this 2016 photo. (Arianna Grainey/Independent Newsmedia)

The city of Apache Junction and the Superstition Fire and Medical District warn that powerful storms can develop at any time during the summer.

Some areas within the city and surrounding areas are prone to flooding, including washes and neighborhoods that are in low-lying areas, authorities stated in a release.

“The predominant natural desert landscape within our community and close proximity to the mountains make the area especially dangerous for flash floods and strong flood currents,” stated Shane Kiesow, Apache Junction public works manager. “It is important for every property owner to reflect on possible impacts of flooding, which could damage their property and their neighbors’.”

According to Mr. Kiesow, property owners should make sure all drainage areas through their properties stay clear of debris that may cause more severe flooding by clogging downstream drainage structures.

Drivers, he added, also must be aware not to take undo risk in crossing flooded streets that run through washes during the monsoon.

Apache Junction officials urge drivers not to take undo risk in crossing flooded streets that run through washes this monsoon. (Submitted photo)

Rick Ochs, public information officer of the Superstition Fire and Medical District, stated that driving through flooded washes not only places motorists at risk but also the first responders who may be called to perform a water rescue.

“These types of rescues are very dangerous to everyone involved due to the fast-moving water and unknown hazards which lay beneath. Our crews are highly trained and very capable to perform water rescues but avoiding the dangers of swift moving water and not becoming a victim is the best way for citizens to assure their own safety,” he stated.

More deaths occur each year due to flooding than from any other storm-related hazard “because people simply underestimate the power of water,” officials stated. “It is also important to know that washes can continue to run heavily for extended periods after rain has subsided due to run-off from the mountains. The city of Apache Junction will alert the community of road closures during the monsoon.

Some tips to remember are:

  • Avoid all water crossings
  • Flash floods start and end quickly.
  • Never drive through flooded roadways. Be especially cautious at night when road flooding and water crossings are especially difficult to see.
  • Do not drive around barricades, which is illegal and dangerous.
  • Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars causing loss of control and stalling.
  • Moving water 1- to 2-feet deep will carry away most vehicles.

In the event of heavy rains and potential flooding, the city of Apache Junction and the SFMD continue to provide free sandbags to residents.

Citizens need to bring necessary tools to fill their own bags and arrange pickup and delivery. The sand bins and bags would be available around the clock at:

  • Fire Station 261, 1135 W. Superstition Blvd., Apache Junction
  • Fire Station 262, 3955 W. Superstition Blvd., Apache Junction
  • Fire Station 264, 7557 E. U.S. Highway 60, Gold Canyon

Additionally, the monsoon brings with it the chance for microbursts, strong winds, lightning and risk of power outages. Officials advise:

  • Securing objects ahead of time to prevent them from blowing away.
  • Trimming potentially damaging trees or tree limbs.
  • Remember that no place outside is safe from lightning during a thunderstorm.
  • Preparing a 72-hour emergency supply kit with plenty of water and non-perishable food to last three days without electrical power, which may affect running water.

To reach the city of Apache Junction Public Works Department, call 480-982-1055.

The Superstition Fire and Medical District can be reached at 480-982-4440 or visit sfmd.az.gov.

The Apache Junction Independent is mailed each month to 35,000 homes.

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