FLAGSTAFF -- Heavy rains and snowmelt in the mountains could heighten risk of flooding along Oak Creek and the Verde River, according to the National Weather Service.
Heavy rainfall is forecasted to start Thursday morning until Friday morning.
Water levels are expected to rise around 11 feet on Oak Creek, according to NWS. These levels are analogous to the flooding levels on Feb. 2 and 3, according to a Brian Klimowski, meteorologist with the National Weather Service
“The snow may or may not melt at the higher elevation,” he said. “These are a high-end scenario.”
Klimowski said this level of flooding has only happened a handful of times in the last two decades.
“The rises we see in Oak Creek are due to in part the rain that’s on the rim that falls back into Oak Creek which causes these larger rises,” he said.
According to a NWS Facebook post, many areas have seen above-normal precipitation with some areas nearly 2-3 inches above normal since October.
“However, the northeast part of the state has received the least amount of liquid with drought conditions still in the severe to extreme range,” the post states. “A wet storm system moving into the area later Wednesday into Thursday will significantly add to these totals especially along and south of the Mogollon Rim.”
NWS advises drivers to never drive into a flooded rode. They also advise to stay away from high flowing creeks, rivers and streams.