Flood Updates and Morning Rundown: Friday, July 16
It’s Friday, July 16. Flash Flood Warnings were issued yesterday for communities including Granite Creek, Ash Fork and the Tiger Fire burn scar near Black Canyon City. The alerts have since expired, though monsoon activity remains in the forecast — with a 58% chance of rain today in Flagstaff. As of July 14, 2021, the city received 1.75 in. of rain from the monsoon season, according to the National Weather Service.
State Of Emergency Declared For Flagstaff Floods
Coconino County and the City of Flagstaff declared States of Emergency on Thursday as floodwaters swept through several neighborhoods this week.
The stormwaters impacted at least 27 homes, according to a county assessment, though local officials encouraged those with damaged homes to contact the Museum Flood Call Center.
The county also established a second station for pre-filled sandbags at the south parking lot
of Coconino High School; sandbags to divert the runoff also remain available at the Health and Human Services building in Sunnyside.
Fire Restrictions Lift In Kaibab, Coconino, Prescott Forests
Area national forests lifted fire restrictions this morning as monsoon activity continues across northern arizona. The Coconino, Kaibab and Apache-Sitgreaves national forests rescinded all restrictions at 6 a.m., though fire officials encouraged visitors to avoid setting campfires in dry and windy conditions. It remains illegal to leave a campfire unattended or use fireworks. The Grand Canyon National Park and Prescott National Forest returned to Stage I restrictions this morning.
Fires Reach Containment As Flooding Concerns Grow
A lightning-caused wildfire five miles northwest of Tusayan has grown to 180 acres. More than 20 personnel are managing the O’Connell Fire, allowing it to burn debris to reduce the chances for future fire, according to the Bureau of Land Management. Several forest service road closures went into effect Thursday near the site of the 2020 Mangum Fire in the Kaibab National Forest due to flash flooding.
Fatalities Amid Heat, Flooding At Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon National Park officials say a 44-year-old Louisiana man died Wednesday after embarking on the Bright Angel Trail on a multi-day trip. NPS reports the man was returning from the Phantom Ranch when he began to experience complications. An investigation is ongoing with the county medical examiner; NPS again encouraged hikers to avoid traveling through the canyon during the hottest hours of the day. The Phantom Ranch today is forecast with a high of 106°.
A 29-year-old Michigan woman also died this week after flash flooding occurred at Tatahatso Camp on the Colorado River, NPS announced Friday morning. Others sustained injuries and were airlifted from the park.
NAU Lifts Capacity Restrictions, Sets Date For Returns
Northern Arizona University President Jose Luis Cruz Rivera announced Thursday the university will lift all capacity limits and social distancing requirements as the fall semester approaches. Cruz Rivera says all university staff will be expected to return to in person work locations by Aug. 16 — a week before classes start Aug. 23. The university has announced it will not require COVID-19 vaccinations, testing, or masks, after an executive order from Gov. Doug Ducey outlawed such requirements at public universities. An on-campus site, however, continues to offer walk-in vaccinations several days a week at the NAU Fieldhouse.
Buttigieg Discusses Infrastructure With Navajo Nation Officials
Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez met with Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg Wednesday to discuss roadways and infrastructures on tribal lands. The two previously met in April to discuss the same topic.
Tribal officials estimate that out of more than 14,167 miles of roadway on the Nation, nearly 9,400 miles are unpaved. The Nez-Lizer Administration has put forward a cluster of requests to the federal government, including a proposal to work with federal officials in increasing road safety on the Navajo Nation — where tribal officials have reported 17,583 collisions within a 15-year time frame.