No one needs this kind of reminder, but the creek flooding that swept away three children in eastern Arizona last week offers one up anyway.

The particulars of this tragedy aren’t much different than other flash flood accidents: Usually, it’s not rising waters that catch people.

More often, trouble starts with a calculated risk to drive a vehicle through fast-moving water. In the Tonto Creek drownings, the confidence to get through the rising water is understandable. The vehicle was a large military-style truck, high, long and powerful enough to carry heavy loads. The creek still won.

The Thanksgiving storm spread rain and snow across Arizona. Lake Havasu City received close to an inch of rain, following a storm the previous week that dropped a similar amount. Thankfully, there were no serious problems locally from the rain. City streets that cross washes and other low-lying areas are still filled with dirt and debris, though.

Arizona didn’t have much of a monsoon season this summer. Yet many places, including Lake Havasu City, have gotten above-average rainfall in 2019. (More than five inches so far.) It was a wet winter and spring. It’s been a wet fall, at least the last couple of weeks.

The “turn around, don’t drown” admonition is usually a summer slogan. The recent rain and the horrific tragedy along Tonto Creek shows it should be a year-round tradition. If you even have to ask yourself whether the passage through running water is safe, the answer is no.

- Today’s News-Herald


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