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Summary
 

Rainfall of 1-2 inches (25-51 mm) in 30 minutes over several sensitive drainages in the northern portion of the Goodwin Wildland Fire scar led to substantial flooding of Big Bug Creek as the gauge in Mayer reached a stage of 9.8 feet (3.0 m). Many families were rescued from their homes, with several mobile homes suffering flood damage.

 
Timeline
Hydrograph from Big Bug Creek at SR 69 radar sensor in Mayer for the 19 July 2017 flood event. Times are local (MST). Data from the sensor show the flow peaked at 9.8 feet at 17:51 MST. This corresponds to a flow rate of 7,291 cubic feet per second (cfs).

Hydrograph from Big Bug Creek at SR 69 radar sensor in Mayer for the 19 July 2017 flood event. Times are local (MST). Data from the sensor show the flow peaked at 9.8 feet at 17:51 MST. This corresponds to a flow rate of 7,291 cubic feet per second (cfs).

Two gauges within the Big Bug Creek watershed captured heavy rainfall rates of 2.01 inches per 30 minutes and 1.26 inches per twenty minutes that aided in creating conditions for downstream flooding. The Big Bug Creek sensor at SR 69 showed a crest of 9.8 feet at 5:51 PM MST. All gauge data is courtesy of the Yavapai County Flood Control.

Two gauges within the Big Bug Creek watershed captured heavy rainfall rates of 2.01 inches per 30 minutes and 1.26 inches per twenty minutes that aided in creating conditions for downstream flooding. The Big Bug Creek sensor at SR 69 showed a crest of 9.8 feet at 5:51 PM MST. All gauge data is courtesy of the Yavapai County Flood Control.

  • ~4:15 - 4:45 PM: Heavy rainfall moves over the Goodwin Fire Scar with 1-2 inches of rain falling in this 30 minute time period.

  • 5:45 PM: Flooding begins in Mayer.

  • 5:51 PM: The gauge on Big Bug Creek at SR 69 crested at 9.8 feet.

  • 6:45 PM: Flooding begins in Spring Valley.

  • 8:00 PM: The water levels receded quickly and the flash flood threat ended.

Impacts
  • 109 homes were damaged (13 homes sustained major damage or were a total loss)
  • Multiple swift water rescues were preformed in Mayer during the peak of the flash flood event.
  • Stagecoach mobile home park in Mayer received significant damage with several homes lost.
  • No damage was reported upstream of the bridge in Mayer.
  • Many homes reported property damage in Spring Valley along Big Bug Creek. A few homes were also damaged.
  • Flood impacts in Diamond Valley were limited to along Emerald Drive where it was apparent water and mud had flowed over the road in a couple places.
Pictures

 

Low water crossing of Big Bug Creek over Central Avenue in Mayer during the 19 July 2017 event. This crossing is barricaded during most flow events off the Goodwin scar. On 19 July, the water came out of the established channel and affected a number of homes.

Low water crossing of Big Bug Creek over Central Avenue in Mayer during the 19 July 2017 event. This crossing is barricaded during most flow events off the Goodwin scar. On 19 July, the water came out of the established channel and affected a number of homes.

Law enforcement officer looks on at the flooding taking place along Central Avenue in Mayer, AZ as Big Bug Creek was overflowing the creek banks.

Law enforcement officer looks on at the flooding taking place along Central Avenue in Mayer, AZ as Big Bug Creek was overflowing the creek banks.

Flooded roadway due to water overflowing the banks of Big Bug Creek in Mayer, AZ.

Flooded roadway due to water overflowing the banks of Big Bug Creek in Mayer, AZ.

The Stagecoach mobile home park in Mayer sustained significant damage from the flood waters with several homes lost.

The Stagecoach mobile home park in Mayer sustained significant damage from the flood waters with several homes lost.

Meteorology

In June 2017, the Goodwin Wildland Fire burned within portions of the mountainous Big Bug Creek watershed. A hydrophobic layer formed as a result of the wildland fire. When heavy monsoon rainfall fell over that hydrophobic mountainous terrain, much of the water drained into Big Bug Creek upstream of Mayer, AZ and resulted in the creek banks overflowing in town. This produced the flooding in and around Mayer, AZ.

Points of Contact

For more information on impacts and general inquiries about this event, please reference the contacts below:

  • National Weather Service: Brian Klimowski, Meteorologist-in-Charge at (928) 556-9161 ext. 222 or brian.klimowski@noaa.gov
    Tony Merriman, Warning Coordination Meteorologist at (928) 556-9161 ext. 223 or tony.merriman@noaa.gov

  • Yavapai County Emergency Management at (928) 713-3020