Monsoon is building, time to prepare

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) -

Soon we'll worry less about fire and more about rain.

We are right on the edge of Monsoon, but that means making some preps to keep out of trouble.

People tend to overestimate how well their cars or trucks will get through high water or they may underestimate the depth and force the water can apply.

Three years ago, a woman died along Alamo Wash. It was broad daylight, 9:30 in the morning when a woman and her car got caught in high water.  The water was so deep firefighters had trouble even seeing the car. By the time they could reach the woman she was dead.

There are dangerous spots like that all over the area, but your planning can help reduce the danger.

Even for people who've seen several seasons worth of monsoon, it can still be a shock to see how fast the waters rise to dangerous depths and just because you've managed to get through high water before you don't know you've pressed your luck too far until you are stuck.

Catherine Wall's front porch gives her a great view of the action on Arcadia Wash.  

KGUN9 reporter Craig Smith asked her: “How quickly can this wash fill up?  It rains and next thing you know..."

Wall: “Minutes, minutes, yeah.”  

Smith: “That's probably going to surprise people who.ve never seen this before.”  

Wall: “Exactly.  It surprised me when I first saw it."

It's a great idea to know more than one way to get where you're going.  Some spots are such reliably frequent flooders, the City of Tucson publishes a map for what it calls Operation Splash.

It also puts barriers at those spots in advance to give you fair warning. And by the way, if you ignore that warning you're in for a ticket.  If you get stuck, the Stupid Motorist Law could make you repay the cost of your rescue.

When water gets high, it can end up in your house.

In Midtown, Palo Verde Neighborhood Association President Ronni Kotwica showed us a map of how the Christmas Wash flooded her neighborhood and about a hundred homes last summer.

She's working to secure a 45 thousand dollar grant to re-work landscaping and at least slowdown water that rushes through now.

Kotwica says, “It goes into that house, it goes into that house.  It goes into this house, then it picks up more steam, and then everything else starts getting flooded."

And until that work is done, sandbags will be popular items here.

The city of Tucson has sandbags on stand by for the public, but they are not distributing them just yet we'll spread the word when they do.


Check out the Operation Splash Map. It shows the areas around Tucson most prone to flooding during Monsoon.

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