Graham County, Thatcher making sandbags available to residents

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SAFFORD — The National Weather Service is predicting heavy rains for the Gila Valley over the next few days, and area officials are taking steps to try and minimize harm to residents and property.

In an e-mail to Gila Valley Central, Graham County Manager Dustin Welker said the county’s “Highway Department has been cleaning out culverts, washes and other drainage structures in preparation for a large event. We will have crews on-call over the weekend and have also delivered sand and sandbags to the fairgrounds for those in need of them.”

Thatcher Town Manager Heath Brown said, “Our response is pretty much the same.  We have been cleaning drains and making sure washes are free of debris. We also have let our guys know there may be a need to be called out if a significant event occurs. We have sand and sandbags available at our Public Works yard on Reay Lane. Residents are welcome to them, but they need to fill them themselves.”

E-mails to the managers of Safford and Pima were not immediately returned.

The National Weather Service is predicting that an approaching weather system from the east is expected to bring widespread showers and thunderstorms to the area late Thursday afternoon through Saturday night.

Locally heavy rainfall, combined with saturated ground from recent rains, could result in flash flooding and other flooding activity. While there is a diminished chance of rain starting late Sunday, elevated flows in area washes and streams will still be possible.