Flash flood watches and warnings declared as Navajo Nation leaders urge preparedness

John R. Moses
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON – Severe flooding in some areas from monsoon storms led the Navajo Nation Department of Emergency Management to issue a severe weather warning as forecasters call for more rainfall throughout the week on the Navajo Nation.

“A flood watch will remain in effect for the entire Navajo Nation throughout the week due to periods of intense rainfall,” according to a news release issued the night of July 28 by the Office of the President and Vice President.

Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez got together in Indian Wells, Arizona with officials from many agencies to discuss the damages caused by flooding and put out a public caution to take the situation seriously.

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“Our administration continues to support several communities experiencing heavy downpours during the monsoon season,” Nez said to the group. “The Navajo Division of Transportation’s work crews also continue to work on repairing roads that were washed out.”

The group included Indian Wells Chapter officials, Navajo Nation Department of Emergency Management Director Harlan Cleveland, Navajo Division of Transportation Executive Director Garrett Silversmith, Navajo County, Navajo Tribal Utility Authority, and Navajo Engineering and Construction Authority officials.

Jonathan Nez

“Monsoonal moisture is forecasted to bring more showers and thunderstorms to the Nation throughout the week into the weekend,” Nez noted. “Please be prepared and alert, and make sure your family and elders have essential items such as food, water, and firewood. Flash flooding can displace people and vehicles if individuals enter flooded areas, so please be very cautious and do not enter flooded areas on foot or by vehicle. It’s important to plan ahead in the event that flooding occurs within your homestead.”

Community Health Representatives and Public Health Nurses, under the Navajo Department of Health, are also providing support and assistance for elderly residents and those with health conditions. The Navajo Division of Transportation will work as quickly as possible to clear roadways and repair roads in the event of more road washouts this week.

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Navajo Nation Vice President Myron Lizer urged people to prepare emergency kits and stay alert.

“First and foremost, every household should have an emergency preparedness kit that includes water, food, medication, radio, flashlight, batteries, first aid kit, whistle, pet supplies, and important documents,” Lizer said. “By taking the time to prepare an emergency kit, you will be better prepared in an emergency. Also, keep materials like sandbags, plywood, and lumber for emergency proofing. We must stay prepared together.”

Weather-related information is available through the National Weather Service website at: https://www.weather.gov/.