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Sedona’s first major monsoon storm ripped through the red rocks Wednesday afternoon, creating flash-flood conditions that shut down Hwy. 179 for over an hour.

By Trista Steers
Larson Newspapers

Sedona’s first major monsoon storm ripped through the red rocks Wednesday afternoon, creating flash-flood conditions that shut down Hwy. 179 for over an hour.

Around 1 p.m. heavy rain caused washes to swell and debris to flow, while wind and lightning took their tole as well.

In approximately 30 minutes, 1.5 to 2 inches of rain fell keeping Sedona Fire District emergency crews busy, according to SFD Capt. Dave Cochrane.

Between 1:28 and 3:09 p.m. SFD crews responded to five storm-related calls.

Mud and debris from washes near Radisson Poco Diablo Resort combined with dirt from Hwy. 179 Improvement Project construction washed

 over the roadway, making it hard for motorists to navigate.

One woman mistook the flow of the debris for the road and drove her vehicle off the west side of Hwy. 179 near Poco Diablo’s parking lot, according to Cochrane.

The woman’s car went over a 12-foot slope before coming to a stop. She was not injured.

While Cochrane’s Uptown station crews dealt with problems on Hwy. 179, crews from West Sedona and Village of Oak Creek stations also took flood-related calls.

At 1:28 p.m. both West Sedona and VOC crews responded to Oak Creek where a family of visitors was separated by

overflowing water.

SFD Capt. Paul Lindfors said the water rose scaring the

people and they scattered to opposite sides of the creek.

“Part of the group went river left and part of the group went river right,” Lindfors said.

Everyone made it safely to a bank but, Lindfors said, being unfamiliar with the area, the group wasn’t sure where they were.

The VOC crew took the visitors on the east bank of the creek back to the VOC station and West Sedona crews helped those on the west bank.

Nobody was injured and the group did the right thing by getting out the water as quickly as possible regardless of separation, according to SFD Fire Inspector Gary Johnson.

Moments after helping those stranded at the creek, crews were called to a local woman’s home on Canyon Shadows Drive where rain flooded her property.

“She had a big river running through her front yard,” Lindfors said.

Rain produced a 30-foot wide by 2-foot deep stream in the woman’s front year after debris clogged a bridge over a wash on her property.

The river also flowed down the street seeping into neighbors garages.

While water created problems on the ground, the wind created them in the air. Crews responded to wires down, which ended up being cable lines the wind ripped from a utility pole.

The storm then went out with a bang, starting a tree on fire with a lightning strike across Hwy. 179 from Bell Rock.

Uptown experienced more severe showers than West Sedona but the problems washed west down the washes with the rain and debris.

Rain in Oak Creek Canyon was responsible for problems in Sedona as well.

“There was lot of water that fell in the rain shed east of Oak Creek Canyon that came down [into Sedona],” Lindfors said.

Greater Sedona has officially made the swift transition from fire season to monsoon.


Trista Steers can be reached at 282-7795, Ext. 129, or

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .


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