Floodwaters sweep away four Arizona Strip homes
KINGMAN - Mohave County Development Services Department Operations Center continued to monitor and respond to flooding along the Beaver Dam Wash and Virgin River in the Littlefield area Wednesday.
Although the wash went down a few feet, the National Weather Service forecast is 100 percent chance of rain for the area into this morning, Mohave County Flood Warning Systems Supervisor Fred Weyermiller said. The county is monitoring precipitation and stream flow sensors upstream of the wash to forecast any increase in cubic feet of water per second flowing toward Beaver Dam.
The County is still designating the area at a Stage 3 level, which means the notification of evacuation is still in force.
"We have reports that some people haven't evacuated," Emergency Management Coordinator Byron Steward said. "We cannot force them to leave, but it certainly is in their best interest."
"Right now, it is not as bad as it was yesterday," Development Services Director Nick Hont said. "But, heavy rain is forecast. We are staying with the Stage 3 designation and we will reassess the situation later this afternoon."
Highway 91 at mile-post 10 continues to be closed due to flooding.
"Damage estimates right now are 10 homes in the Beaver Dam Resort have been damaged with at least four homes destroyed," Hont said. "We have reports that we may lose three or more of those damaged homes in that development. We have two building inspectors who will assess damage to residences in the area. They will designate a green tag, meaning a home can be occupied, a yellow tag, meaning a home has damage, however it can be occupied but must be repaired, or a red tag, which means a home cannot be occupied."
A 300- to 400-foot length of Clark Gable Drive has been destroyed. However, access is still available for responders.
"Park Place has about a dozen homes impacted by the water, however, right now (10:45 a.m. Wednesday) the water has receded," Hont said.
The Beaver Dam Water Department has been shutting off valves to destroyed homes to keep the pressure up for the fire department, he said. "Mohave County Environmental Health Division personnel are going door to door to instruct residents on drinking water safety."
If heavy rains continue, there may be more damage along Clark Gable Drive, Hont said. "But we really don't know until we see how much water comes down the wash. We are watching the gauges upstream."
Chairman of the Mohave County Board of Supervisors Buster Johnson signed a Declaration of Emergency for the county Tuesday morning.
Deputy County Manager Mike Hendrix, Development Services, is commanding the operations center, which was established 6 p.m. Sunday. Flood Control Division and Emergency Management personnel, under Hont's command, began monitoring the situation in northwest Mohave County on Sunday morning, calling a Stage 2 situation at 6 p.m. and bringing in the department operations center, the local fire department and Mohave County Sheriff's Office, Hont said.
Mohave County's early warning precipitation gauges and stream-flow gauges prompted the county to declare a Stage 3 situation around 10:30 p.m. Monday and the beginning of evacuation notification. Residents had been notified Monday morning that they may receive a notification of evacuation if the situation called for it. At 10:30 p.m. Monday, the Sheriff's Office, Johnson, Acting County Manager Susie Parel-Duranceau, Beaver Dam/Littlefield Fire Department and the Red Cross were notified. The evacuation began as deputies and firefighters went from house to house warning residents. By 2:30 a.m. Tuesday, all residents were notified. Initially, according to Hont, only about 10 percent evacuated. As the situation worsened, many more residents have evacuated.
The Red Cross set up an emergency shelter at 11:30 p.m. Monday at Virgin Valley High School, Mesquite, Nev.
People upstream were notified as well, Emergency Management Coordinator Byron Steward said. Also, residents along the Virgin River in Littlefield have been notified of potential impacts.
The wash levels peaked just before noon Tuesday.
The DOC is continuing to monitor the National Weather Service forecast, as well as all Mohave County precipitation and stream flow gauges.
"Although the water has gone down a little, the danger is still there," Hendrix said. "Residents who have been requested to evacuate should do so. We just don't know if we are going to see the same level of intensity as we did yesterday. We are remaining at Stage 3 and will reassess the situation this afternoon."
The early warning gauges showed that the flow of Beaver Dam Wash was similar to a 2005 flood that caused a lot of damage to homes in the area and washed out a bridge, Hont said.