ARIZONA, USA — The Duncan Valley Rural Fire District has started mass evacuations of flood-prone areas after the Gila River overflowed its banks and began spilling into Duncan.
At this time, the Greenlee County Fairgrounds is open and available for use as an evacuation center for both people and livestock.
According to the department, the flooding began around 4:30 Monday morning. Certain low-lying areas measured a depth of 22.27 feet.
Michelle Money has lived in Duncan for more than four years. She said she's never seen anything like this before.
"By the time we realized it was this bad. It was already this bad," she tried to explain. We got a warning last night for possible flooding, but we didn't take it that seriously because there's no rain here. It's all coming from mostly New Mexico."
Main Street was submerged by roughly 5:00 a.m. Monday, displacing dozens of Duncan residents.
"The river had turned into a lake, they said the water was like 30 feet deep in the river this morning, so this 70 Highway is closed," said Money.
Sky12 video over the Duncan showed high school football and baseball fields underwater.
"I've seen this river get a little high but nothing like this; it's expanded very wide. I don't even know the distance, but it's way wider than Main Street, the river is right now," said Town Manager Terry Hinton
12News reached out to Governor Ducey's Office. They say they're ready to help at the request of town leaders. 12News also spoke to the Arizona Department of Transportation, and they said clean-up and closures on Highway 70 will continue until further notice.
The U.S. Postal Service announced Monday they suspended mail delivery for customers served by the Duncan Post Office. Officials said service was resumed Tuesday afternoon.
Meanwhile, the original evacuation order is still in place for people living in Duncan.
The department has issued a full list of threatened areas on its Facebook Page:
Facebook user Michelle Money captured video of the floodwaters all the way up to the roadway around 6:30 a.m.
Trees, power line poles, and even some structures can be seen submerged in the water.
Currently, there is no expected time for when the floodwaters will recede.
The Arizona Fire & Medical Authority has provided the following tips on what hazards to watch out for during and after a flood, including fire, electrical and chemical safety:
Generators and alternative heating devices can create fire hazards during flooding if they aren’t used correctly or maintained properly. Pools of water and appliances can become electrically charged and can cause electrical fires.
On electricity, residents in flooded areas should turn off the power to their homes if they can reach the main breaker or fuse box. All wiring in the house may be electrically charged and hazardous. Residents should have a professional technician check their home for damages before turning on the power.
Make sure potentially combustible liquids like paint thinner, lighter fluid or gasoline haven’t spilled within or near your home. Keep combustible liquids away from electrical or alternative heat sources as to not start a fire.
All smoke alarms in the home should be tested monthly and batteries should be replaced yearly. Some smoke alarms are dependent on your home’s electrical service and may go out when power is turned off.
Make sure the fire hydrant near your home is cleared of debris so the fire department can assess it easily in the event of a fire.
Drought, wildfires, heat and monsoon storms: Arizona has seen its fair share of severe weather. Learn everything you need to know about the Grand Canyon State's ever-changing forecasts here: