Flash flood damages Catalina Foothills homes, prompts evacuations

Cleaning up after the storm
Published: Aug. 1, 2022 at 10:19 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - It was one of the worst storms this monsoon. Sunday night, heavy rainfall swept through the Catalina Foothills neighborhood. A flash flood displaced more than a dozen people and left devastation in its wake.

On Monday, crews removed debris from Havasu Road, near Columbus Boulevard, and leveled the street.

The typically quiet community became a noisy construction zone, as homeowners dug through mud-caked rooms and tried to salvage precious items.

“She actually was invited to the White House by President Eisenhower,” said Enid Whittaker, pointing to a vintage Sports Illustrated magazine cover.

Whittaker’s home office is full of hundreds of books that were once owned by Bonnie Prudden. The fitness pioneer, hall of famer and published author lived with Whittaker until she passed away in 2011.

“I was her managing director,” said Whittaker. “We worked together for over 40 years. I was kind of the person who organized everything so she could do what she needed to do.”

Now, shelves are toppled over and a thick layer of mud coats the office floor.

Outside, Whittaker’s pool brimming with filthy water. The fast-moving flood also carried her shed at least 30 feet downstream.

“My neighbor and I were sitting in the living room chatting. Then, all of the sudden it started to rain. Then, she said, ‘It’s coming,’” said Whittaker. “It was a wall of water.”

A couple feet of water surrounded her home.

More than three feet of water made it inside the Catalina Foothills Adult Care Assisted Living facility, according to Rural Metro. First responders evacuated the vulnerable residents, who were all taken to nearby hospitals for the night.

Whittaker says 11 people lived at the care home. She says several other neighbors also had to leave due to flooding.

Whittaker was already dealing with the aftermath of last year’s monsoon. The 84-year-old says she finally received money from her mortgage company to complete the repairs a few weeks ago.

“I’ve lived here since 1994,” said Whittaker. “Sometimes there wasn’t even any water in the wash, other times there was a little bit. Last year was the most water and we did get a bit of damage, but nothing like this!”

A neighbor has set up a GoFundMe page to help Whittaker fix her home. To donate, click HERE.

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