While the National Weather Service is predicting a later start to this year’s monsoon season, residents in flood prone areas are being advised to start preparing now for heavy rains.

Cochise County Public Works is once again providing free sand and sandbags, to those who need them, at locations throughout the area. And this year, citizens will have access to an online map where they can get up-to-date information on flooded and closed roads.

“As details come in to the County, we will update the map in real time to help our residents navigate roads safely,” said Gabe Lavine, Emergency Services Coordinator.

The map can be accessed at https://www.cochise.az.gov/emergency

The County is also asking residents to heed warning signs during monsoon events, particularly when it comes to road closures.

“Do not cross flooded washes and please do not drive around barricades,” said Lavine. “Several people had to be rescued last year because they ignored this advice. Turn around, don’t drown.”

Sand and sandbags are available across Cochise County, but residents will need to bring their own shovels and fill the bags themselves.

To prevent the bags from disintegrating, they will be placed inside a metal drum next to the sand at the following locations Monday to Thursday, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Bisbee Road Yard, 1229 Hereford Road.

Douglas Road Yard, 3665 N. Leslie Canyon Road.

Elfrida Road Yard, 3988 W. Thompson Road.

Sandbags are available at any time at the following locations:

Coronado Lakes Estates (Douglas) — off Cipriano Dr. at the water tanks.

Elfrida Fire Department, 10293 N. Central Highway.

Portal Area – Intersection of Foothills & Portal Road.

For information on monsoon safety and sandbag availability visit https://www.cochise.az.gov/highway-and-floodplain/monsoon-awareness

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