Monday, July 17, 2017

Devastating Flash Flood Near Payson, Arizona

Wow, nine killed, one missing. The folks in the swimming hole just outside Payson, AZ, got hammered by this flash flood:
A flash flood north of Payson near the Cold Springs swimming hole killed nine people and left one more missing Saturday afternoon.

Gila County Sheriff's Office said that a total of nine bodies were recovered throughout the day on Sunday. The ninth victim found was a 2-year-old.

A 27-year-old man is still missing. The Sheriff's Office has suspended the search until 6 a.m.

According to GCSO, deputies responded to a search and rescue call around 3 p.m. Saturday after heavy rains caused flash flooding in the area.

Meteorologists had issued a flash-flood warning surrounding a popular swimming area inside the Tonto National Forest before the wave of water gushed through the narrow canyon.

...GCSO said a family of 14 people were swimming in the area and were swept away in the flash flood. Multiple agencies responded to aid in search and rescue efforts.

Search teams were already in the area because of a hiker that had a medical issue unrelated to the flood. Then they get a call that a man was stuck on a rock due to the flooding. They were able to rescue him and three more people.
How do you even protect yourself in this situation? The storm wasn't in the immediate vicinity, so they weren't on their guard. Runoff from forest fire scars is fast. And the wall of water can be disguised by debris, so it's unlikely you'll see it coming. Taken completely by surprise.

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