As monsoon comes closer we have two important stories about flood protection. There are flood warnings going out to some Tucson property owners and we have an update on a Pima County program to buy and demolish homes prone to flood.

When the Bighorn Fire burned a lot of ground cover off Mount Lemmon, water rushed down the mountainside and into Finger Rock Wash; there it funneled trouble into a lot of houses in the Foothills along Havasu Road. Now Pima County Flood Control is spending close to four million dollars to buy up flooded homes in the name of safety.

In floods last summer, Enid Whittaker had a house full of memories, coated with mud and water.

Her neighborhood was built in the early 1960s before rules that would have restricted homes in a recognized flood plain. Even so, the homes along Havasu Road did not have serious flood histories until the Bighorn Fire. Then Enid s home had two floods in quick succession.

Now shes one of several property owners accepting buyout offers from Pima County Flood Control.

My situation over there was I couldn’t stay there. So I had to move everything out that wasn’t destroyed, put it in storage. And since then, I’ve been living with different friends. This is my fifth move to this house. And Friday, I will be moving into my new rental. And I hope that I will be able to take a breather.

County records show six homes either acquired or in the process at a cost of about 3.7 million dollars.

Theyll be knocked down to allow water to flow through them without backups.

Joe Cuffari of Pima County Flood Control says removing the homes is safer for residents, and first responders who would need to rescue them from a flood.

In 2022 an assisted living facility along the finger rock was impacted. That’s 10 residents who had disabilities through there and there were about seven emergency vehicles that had to go in and respond to that area. This is all during a flood event. They could have been used elsewhere if needed.

Heres a different flood related story.

Soon about 22 hundred property owners in the City of Tucson will get letters warning them their properties are in danger of flooding. Pima County and the City of Tucson determined there are more than 14 hundred newly determined, flood prone properties in city portions of Pima Supervisor District 3 and more than 750 in Supervisor District 5.

The changes are because as neighborhoods change, flood potentials can change too.

The notices are going out so property owners can take steps to protect themselves, like buying flood insurance.