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Flooding: Coconino County And Flagstaff Officials Say Long-Term Solutions Difficult

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Angela Gervasi KNAU
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Coconino County and Flagstaff officials addressed community members Wednesday evening after parts of the city sustained severe flooding, which damaged at least 24 homes.

The county estimates just over 3 inches of rain fell on the Museum Fire Burn Scar Tuesday, along with nearly 4 inches in another area near Fort Valley Road. It prompted what the county is regarding as a 200-to-500 year rainfall event. 

Deputy County Manager Lucinda Andreani told listeners long-term solutions would be expensive, adding that “there is no silver bullet” for solving the issue.

“We’re here and we’re going to listen to you,” she said Wednesday. “At the same time, understand that nobody’s rushing in.”

“I’m not saying that we aren’t getting support from our congressional delegation,” Andreani added, “but this isn’t going to get solved at the federal level or the state level. It’s going to be up to the local team that can deliver any kind of long-term mitigation effort.” 

Gov. Doug Ducey earlier this summer issued an emergency declaration for the flooding, allocating a maximum of $200,000 to Coconino County. 

July’s flooding alone, however, caused around $5 million in damages to local infrastructure, City of Flagstaff spokesperson Jessica Drum told the Associated Press

 

Coconino County also received a $600,000 grant from the U.S. Dept of Agriculture to stabilize water channels and cull erosion near Mt. Elden.

 

County officials say crews are working to clear debris and conduct damage assessments. Volunteers and residents also gathered this week to further clear mud and debris.

 

The Killip Elementary School in Flagstaff’s Sunnyside neighborhood has cancelled classes for the remainder of the week after floodwaters gushed into the school facility. The school now plans to transition to temporary remote learning before moving to a new location early next month. 

Sandbags remain stocked at the south parking lot of Coconino High School and outside the County Health and Human Services building on King Street. A volunteer event organized by United Way is slated on Saturday. 

County Engineer Christopher Tressler encouraged residents in need of assistance hauling sandbags to contact the county’s Museum Flood Call Center. Monsoon activity is forecast to diminish for the remainder of the week, according to the National Weather Service.

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