Understanding the Risk of Flooding in Mesa, Arizona
Flooding is one of the most common natural disasters in the world. It is responsible for causing heavy rains, flash floods, soil erosion, and landslides. Despite the high number of impacts of flooding, most people do not realize the risk of living in flood-prone areas, including Mesa, Arizona. Mesa, located in Maricopa County, is an arid region known for its plateaus, canyons, and mountains. However, it is important to note that Arizona is not immune to flooding as heavy thunderstorms, tropical storms, and monsoons can cause flash floods in the area. Therefore, understanding the risks of flooding in Mesa, Arizona, is important to both residents and visitors.
Factors that Determine the Risk of Flooding in Mesa, Arizona
Numerous factors determine the risk of flooding, including geography, climate, and hydrology. Mesa, being situated in the Sonoran Desert, experiences a semi-arid, hot climate, which translates into long and dry spells interspersed with brief rainfall periods. This climate means the soils in Mesa, Arizona, are generally dry and less absorbent, making them vulnerable to flooding after heavy rainfalls. Mesa’s topography is also an important factor that contributes to flooding. The city is located in a low-gradient plain that extends towards the Salt River Valley. This flat terrain leads to the accumulation of water during heavy rains, creating the potential for flash floods.
Furthermore, the hydrology of Mesa, Arizona, also plays a significant role in determining the risk of flooding in the area. The Salt River and its tributaries, such as the Rio Verde and Tonto Creek, are a significant source of flooding in Mesa. The river basin is extensive, covering over 13,000 square miles, and anyone living or vacationing in this area should be aware of the potential of flash flooding during the thunderstorm season.
Past Flooding Incidents in Mesa, Arizona
In the past decade, Mesa has faced several flooding incidents, with the most severe being in 2014. The Tropical Storm Norbert brought heavy rainfalls that caused flash floods and landslides, leading to significant damage to property and infrastructure. The resulting floods caused fatalities, displacement of residents, and widespread economic damages. Additionally, a 2019 storm caused flooding in the Dobson Ranch area of Mesa, resulting in road closures and property damage.
Due to these events, the state and county authorities initiated measures to reduce the risk of flooding in the Mesa area. A Flood Control District was established in 1967 to mitigate flooding risks in the Salt River Basin. The district maintains the rivers, levies, and stormwater management systems to reduce the impact of floods. Additionally, the City of Mesa provides information to residents and visitors on how to prepare for floods, how to respond to flood events, and general safety guidelines during flood seasons.
Precautions to Take to Protect Oneself and Property
Understanding the risk of flooding in Mesa is crucial to take the necessary precautions to protect oneself, property, and infrastructure. One of the most effective methods of preparing for floods is to have a flood Emergency Plan that outlines the evacuation routes and the essential items needed for safety. Residents are also advised to have emergency kits containing items such as first aid kits, flashlights, and weather radios. Moreover, property owners in flood-prone areas should consider elevating electrical appliances, furniture, and other valuable items off the ground.
While Mesa, Arizona may not have frequent rainfall, it is still a flood-prone area. It is essential to understand that heavy rainfall in the area could result in sudden and severe flash floods causing countless fatalities and massive economic losses. Therefore, residents and visitors need to continually practise safety precautions such as staying informed, being prepared, and taking note of the warnings and notices issued by the authorities. Through collaborative efforts by the authorities, property owners, and residents, the risk of flooding in the Mesa area can be significantly reduced, leading to a safer and more secure environment for all.