Coconino County Urges Flood Insurance After Unprecedented Monsoon Runoff

Jul 30, 2021

Sandbags line the sidewalk in Flagstaff's Sunnyside neighborhood.
Credit Angela Gervasi

Rainfall across northern Ariz. this summer has already outpaced precipitation levels received in 2020 — and the monsoon season is far from over. Both Coconino County and City of Flagstaff officials are encouraging residents to consider purchasing flood insurance in the case of severe property damage.

The Coconino County Flood Control District is urging residents to consider buying. Part of the reason behind that push is a clause in Arizona’s constitution. County Supervisor Patrice Horstman says government entities are legally restricted from repairing peoples’ homes.

"We cannot spend city or county monies ... on private property," Horstman told KNAU. "That’s considered a gift of public funds, and so it is up to the individual homeowners, to cover their own private property."

Credit Angela Gervasi

Horstman adds climate change and the state’s ongoing drought increase the need for homeowner protection. Wildfire activity can lead to additional area flood risk that lasts for years, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. 

Deputy County Manager Lucinda Andreani says mitigation strategies — like sandbags — were helpful in protecting homes this month. Still, she adds there’s no guarantee they’ll hold up in a severe storm, exposing uninsured homes to potential damage.

The national average rate for a flood insurance premium cost $700 in 2019, according to data from FEMA.