Pima County prepares for potential floods over the weekend

Sand bags are available around the county for those in flood risk areas.
Sand bags are available around the county for those in flood risk areas.(kold)
Published: Jul. 22, 2021 at 5:35 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - More monsoon storms projected this weekend could bring rain reminiscent of the destructive flooding in the area from 2006.

With just a few clicks, Lynn Orchard with the Pima County Regional Flood Control District can see everything he needs to know to monitor for floods.

“It allows us to, in real time, view what’s happening in the watershed, where its raining, how hard it’s raining and where there’s stream flow,” he said.

The system is showing several inches possible for several areas for at least the next 12 hours. The National Weather Service Tucson says the next 72 hours are possible for flash floods across the area. A major issue could be the Bighorn Fire burn area.

“The Bighorn burn scar is still a real variable,” said Orchard.

And, she said, the burn scar could pose a huge problem.

“So, if we get rainfall similar to 2006, which is kind of what we’re expecting, the results could be worse than 2006,” said Brian Jones, with the Pima County Regional Flood Control District.

In 2006, heavy floods left destruction around the Sabino Canyon area and filled the Rillito Wash as high as it’s ever been, but there was no Bighorn Fire burn scar then.

“We’re very likely to get the major water courses involved,” said Orchard.

However, the county will be monitoring its gauges 24/7 and are confident in the infrastructure they do have in place — still they ask for the public’s help.

“If it’s really coming down, and you don’t have to be out and about, stay home,” said Jones.

You can find the data the County sees here. The data set can show lightning strikes, wash and river flow and more.

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