Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Sedona evacuated as Oak Creek rises

East Valley Tribune | Daily Arizona news for Chandler, Gilbert, Tempe, Mesa, Scottsdale: "SEDONA- At least 300 people were being evacuated in the Sedona area today after a winter storm caused Oak Creek water levels to rise 11 feet overnight. By mid-morning about 50 people had been taken to a shelter. More were expected to be sent there as the storm that first hit California worked its way across Arizona Wednesday. People living in low lying areas closest to the creek were being urged to evacuate, said Matt Shobert, Sedona fire district deputy chief. Minor flooding was reported in some homes. Heavy rain over the area led the water in Oak Creek to rise from about 3 feet to 14 feet by mid-morning Wednesday. It was expected to crest at higher levels. Runoff could cause flash flooding elsewhere and prompt more evacuations in the tourist community known for its prominent red rock features, officials warned. Rain water was also causing some canyon walls to collapse in Oak Creek Canyon, making it unsafe for even emergency crews. A 14-miles section of State Road 89A, which runs between Sedona and Flagstaff, was closed, said Department of Public Safety officials. It was unclear how soon it might reopen."

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