It’s been another interesting winter this year. You know things are getting crazy when it’s mid-January, and even if only for a few hours, it’s colder in Phoenix, Arizona than it is in Anchorage, Alaska! We definitely had a warm spell this month. On Sunday, January 13th, we had a fair amount of rain. I went out into the subdivision that afternoon and took the photos below, where Furrow Creek flows under Clippership Court, Mariner Drive and Johns Road. As you can see from the upper left-hand photo, the culvert at Clippership Drive was already over capacity with overflow pouring into the curbside storm drain at the bottom of the photo.
Going into the evening, it was raining even harder. During the night, Furrow Creek began overflowing at Mariner Drive, with excess water running westward down the street to Johns Road. The storm drains couldn’t handle the runoff, so the water starting backing up into the street, and a few driveways and frontyards. In the morning, the MOA came out and closed the road, putting down sandbags to divert the overflow across the road, back into the creek on the other side. You can see the Mariner Drive roadway underwater in the left-hand photo below taken at 11:00am, January 14th.
This was the third time in the past six months that I’d seen one or more of the Furrow Creek culverts reach capacity and/or overflow. We’d had similar problems in September and October of last year, pictured in the photos below. That’s Furrow Creek at Mariner Drive on September 19th on the left and October 5th on the right.
From the creek’s origin down through the Huffman roundabout, all existing culverts appear to easily handle the water flow. Note how easily the culvert at the Huffman round-a-bout is handling the creek in the photo below. This photo was taken on October 5th, just minutes before I took above right photo at Mariner Drive, where the downstream culvert is underwater, at full capacity and very close to overflowing.
Downstream of the Huffman round-a-bout, it’s a whole different story. The next five culverts at: 1. the railroad tracks, 2. Beachcomber Drive, 3. Clippership Court., 4. Mariner Drive & 5. Johns Road are all undersized. This is due to development upstream over the past several decades, resulting in an increase in runoff into the creek. New roads, parking lots, foundations, etc., means less ground absorption and more runoff into the creek resulting in larger creek water volume, especially during adverse conditions.
The above photos give an idea as to why there is now a funded Furrow Creek Drainage Improvement design project. The focus of the project is to vastly improve creek flow downstream of the Huffman round-a-bout in order to eliminate the potential for these kinds of issues in the future. As we get closer to Spring, we’ll hear more about the Furrow Creek Drainage Improvement project since it should be nearing the end of its design phase in the next few months. If you want more information, use the links below, and stay tuned to this blog.
Click here to go to the Furrow Creek Drainage Improvement Project website.
Click here to read the Furrow Creek Drainage Improvements update article I wrote on October 31st. Click here to read the September 27th update. Click here to read the original article from August 13th.