Wed, June 26

Rescuers save woman from raging Oak Creek Friday

A woman was rescued from her RV Friday night by a swift water team as water rose in Page Springs.

The normally tranquil Oak Creek that was running at 40 cubic feet per second (cfs) earlier in the day, but spiked to 10,000 cfs just before midnight.

For a time Friday night, Sedona fire crews had suggested people evacuate from low-lying areas of Oak Creek but by Saturday the alarm was called off.

Verde Valley Fire District firefighters in Cornville said that emergency crews had a one-hour warning when the swollen and raging Oak Creek reached the Tlaquepaque Bridge in Sedona.

The Sunrise RV Park between the bridge and the Page Springs Restaurant had several mobile units parked there and owners were urged to move them. Two remaining RVs appeared to be vacant, until crews spotted a flashlight beam moving inside the mobile unit.

At that point, the creek water was rising on the wheels of the woman's RV and VVFD called for a swift water rescue team to get her out of the floodway.

The special crew inflated a raft and used ropes to reach the stranded RV to rescue the woman. By then the water had reached the top step of the RV.

Firefighters suggest that the trailer could have been carried downstream had the water risen much higher.

By Saturday morning, all the mobile units were parked in the parking lot of the restaurant.

The water was described as "scary" at how rapidly it rose with something of a "wall of water."

A man at the park had to have his pickup towed when the water rose so high that it disabled the truck.

Most of the runoff appeared to come from the Mogollon Rim below Flagstaff. By comparison, the Verde River west of Clarkdale was comparatively flat. But, by the time the combined flow from the Verde and Oak Creek and other tributaries reached Camp Verde, the volume had risen to 13,000 cfs.

In addition to Oak Creek, the Wet Beaver, Dry Beaver, and West Clear Creek gauges all showed dramatic spikes around midnight.

A new storm is expected to reach Arizona today (Sunday), but temperatures are expected to be colder in the higher elevations creating snow rather than rainfall. Still, conditions remain saturated from two weekends of rainfall.

Local fire departments remind drivers not to drive across flooded crossings.

They also advise that sand and sand bags are available at most fire stations and public works departments.