More Than 3 Inches Of Rain Forces Evacuations And Strands Residents

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Heavy rains over the weekend forced several evacuations and has left people in Rim Country and in Tonto Basin stranded.

According to the National Weather Service, all of northern Gila County, including Payson, Pine and Strawberry as well as Tonto Basin are currently under a flash flood watch until 8:45 a.m. today.

The National Weather Service said gauges measuring stream flow indicate that every stream from the Mogollon Rim, Sedona, Pine, Whiteriver, including the Payson area and Rim Country continue to show significant within bank flow.

A representative with the Tonto Basin Fire District said residents on the east side of Tonto Creek in Tonto Basin are stranded due to flooding and numerous evacuations have taken place.

The Gila County Sheriff's Office said approximately 15 to 20 people in the Lazy JR RV Park, as well as 15 to 20 more people in the Sleepy Hollow RV Park have been evacuated by the Tonto Basin Fire Department.

An unknown number of people in the in Foster's RV Park and eight residents each in Rancho Del Escondido, and Roosevelt Gardens East have also been evacuated.

The Red Cross has since moved the location of their emergency center to the Tonto Basin Elementary School at 1 School Street in Tonto Basin.

For more information, call Gila County Emergency Services at (928) 402-8888 or 1-800-304-4452 ext. 8888.

According to the Gila County Sheriff's Office, the first, second and third crossings on Houston-Mesa Road are currently closed as well as the East Verde River Estate Crossings and Flowing Springs.

A propane gas leak caused structural and content damage to a home on East McKamey Street this morning and a second home later on Monday suffered a flash fire, which resulted in content damage.

The first gas leak was reported in a back yard on East McKamey Street in central Payson around 1 a.m. Monday. The second incident was reported at 7:55 a.m.

The leaks Monday morning forced the evacuation of about 10 families, said a spokesperson with the Payson Fire Department.

Eight of the families have been allowed back in their homes, others are still waiting for news when they will be allowed back into their homes. Crews are searching for leaks, but heavy rains are making it difficult to locate the problem.

Two families may have to stay in a hotel overnight, said Doug Mann, president of Semstream of Arizona.

At the request of the Payson Fire Department, the Red Cross is opening a reception and care center at the Mount Cross Lutheran Church at 601 E Highway 260 in Payson.

For more information, residents should call the church at 474-2552.


Additionally, Control Road by the Bear Creek crossing along with Forest Service Roads 64 and 439 are closed until further notice.

The weather service is calling for a 50 percent chance of rain throughout tonight.

For more information, call the Gila County Sheriff's Office at (928) 474-2208.

For more information on these stories, see the Tuesday Roundup.

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