VERDE VALLEY – Residents throughout the Verde Valley began mopping up this morning following one of the most significant floods in years along the Verde River, Oak Creek and Beaver Creek.
Flooding in the low lying areas of Cornville and road closures going into Cornville has prompted the Cottonwood-Oak Creek School District to cancel classes today at Oak Creek School.
“COCSD has decided to close Oak Creek Elementary for today. At this time, Oak Creek Elementary School is the only school closure but we will keep everyone updated as administration is watching the weather system and its impacts to our community,” a news release from Cottonwood-Oak Creek officials stated.
According to Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office Media Relations Coordinator Dwight D’Evelyn, the Rimrock community along Beaver Creek experienced heavy flooding.
“Many of the homes along the creek’s edge as well as other low-lying areas quickly filled with several feet of water,” said D’Evelyn. “Deputies initially responded to the area at approximately 9:30 p.m. and immediately began evacuations. The fire department was called and they assisted with evacuations including a response from their swift water rescue team. Several deputies walked in waist-deep flowing water, and carried elderly, children, and dogs to safety. Four people and two dogs were rescued out of a van that ended up disabled in several feet of water.”
D’Evelyn said deputies’ barricades low-lying access roads. YCSO also issued its Code Red Emergency Notification alert to residents along the creek with instructions to evacuate.
D’Evelyn said Yavapai County Emergency Management was advised and coordinated with the Red Cross to set a shelter at Beaver Creek Baptist Church. This location would also be used later by CVMO for evacuations in Camp Verde. At about 2 a.m., the creek began to recede and by 4 a.m. the evacuation order was cancelled but heavy caution to homeowners warning of barricaded flooded roads, large floating debris, and no utilities.
“Deputies remain in the area to assist residents as needed and report concerns to public works and other county agencies regarding damage/debris assessment and road conditions,” said D’Evelyn. “Please, do not attempt to drive across flooded roads.”
Local river watcher John R. Parsons – A.K.A. Mr. Verde River -- reported on Facebook that West Clear Creek's first peak was at midnight at 10,700 cubic feet per second. A second surge raised West Clear Creek back to 13,100 cfs at 3:45 a.m.
Parsons said, “The 13,100 cfs peak is the 6th highest level since record keeping began for West Clear. It is also the 2nd highest flow since the epic 1993 all-time gonzo high of 24,800 cfs.”
Parsons also reported Oak Creek at Sedona probably peaked at midnight at 11,500 cfs. Oak Creek at Cornville was 16,900 and still rising as of 3 a.m. Dry Beaver Creek peaked at 13,300 cfs at 10 p.m. Feb. 14.
Friday at 8 a.m., the Verde River at the Clarkdale gauge was reported at 7,900 cfs with the river having risen 9.78 feet, according to the National Weather Service.
NWS also reported at 8 a.m. Friday the Verde River at the Camp Verde gauge had swollen to more than 50,000 cfs and had risen 21.77 feet, about 7 feet shy of the all-time record in that area, established in 1993.
Camp Verde Marshal's Office Deputy Jeff Bowers reported Friday morning, “The majority of the night we dealt with flooding issues in various locations around town. These issues resulted in the evacuations of residents from Montezuma Castle Hwy (Pecan Lane Area), Basham Circle and the Verde Lakes community. Verde Lakes Drive was closed which the water rose to a point it covered from Cactus Blossom past Ripple Road and lower Robin Lane area. The neighborhood was contacted and the residents were asked to leave due to the rising water. The area of White Cap was completely flooded and some residents could not be contacted. As to the Montezuma Castle area, several houses were flooded. Incident command was established at the high school and resources were moved to Rimrock to start a shelter.”
Copper Canyon Fire & Medical spokesman Steve Sarkesian reported Thursday at 10 p.m., emergency responders were dispatched to a report of water rising in the area of Rimrock Drive. “Upon arrival,” said Sarkesian, “the street was found to be flooded so units repositioned and began assessing the area. A van tried to cross the road and was unable to go any further so a swift water technician team assembled and was able to make a rescue of all four occupants in the van and two dogs utilizing a haul system and a boat. The team then started doing low-water rescues and going door to door to assist in evacuation of some of the residents, while some residents chose to shelter in their homes. The boat and haul team were again utilized to get an elderly person out of her house due to rising flood waters. At another location, units comprising of swift water technicians from Copper Canyon Fire and Sedona Fire were able to successfully remove eight people from a residence on foot. All people evacuated or rescued were evaluated for injuries and transported to a Red Cross location set up at the Beaver Creed Baptist Church. The location also had a setup to shelter small pets. In all, 17 people and two dogs were safely removed to the Red Cross location. There were units from Copper Canyon, Sedona and Verde Valley Fire used to rescue and transport people removed from their homes. Yavapai County Sheriffs were used to help with rescues and traffic control and Yavapai County Emergency Management was activated and were able to get resources to set up the Red Cross location and future needs.”
Also Friday morning, the City of Cottonwood reported portions of the City’s Riverfront Park were submerged Currently the disc golf course, some hiking trails (in particular the Jail Trial), and the children’s play area at the northeast end of the park are closed for public use at this time.