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Don't be taken by surprise: Monsoon flooding risk high in some areas

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Don't be taken by surprise: Monsoon flooding risk high in some areas

CREATED Jun 26, 2012
Reporter: Kevin Keen
PIMA COUNTY, Ariz. (KGUN9-TV) - Walls of water, drenched drivers and flooded fairways. Tuesday afternoon, parts of Southern Arizona knew without a doubt the good ol' monsoon is here. But this season, there’s a special warning that comes with the storms. Depending on where you live, you could see a lot more flash flooding in the coming months.
Chris Cawein is the deputy director of the Pima County Regional Flood Control District, which tracks precipitation and issues flood advisories. One tool his agency uses is a giant, wall map featuring tiny lights that indicate precipitation measured across the region. Tuesday, for the first time this season, they illuminated en masse. Learn more about the system online.
Cawein and his colleagues said this monsoon, like all others, will be difficult to predict. But they said we can expect the usual flooded roadways, dips and washes in Tucson, Pima County and beyond.
“Most people know them and drive these routes,” Cawein said. “They know they'll find areas where water is flowing.”
But other parts of our region and the state might not be so lucky.
“This year, we've seen a number of wildfires occurring north, northeast and northwest of Phoenix, up in the mountains,” he explained. “The rain events that occur there, number one, can be good for the fire--to quench the fire. However, they can cause an increase in flooding in downstream areas.”
Flash flooding because fires char vegetation and soil, which would normally absorb rainfall, according to a National Weather Service advisory.
Southern Arizona has seen wildfires this year, too. Cawein says people living in those areas--or downstream from them--should also be on alert.
One way the agency recommends people prepare for the monsoon is to find out which areas you visit that are prone to flooding. If want to take a closer look at your neighborhood, the City of Tucson and Pima County post flood maps online.