Willow Creek is normally a docile stream that winds its way through Prescott. But on September 23, 1983 – when 14.5 inches of rain soaked the Prescott area in a 24-hour period – Willow Creek was anything but passive. In fact, the creek was 800 feet wide in some sections.
The torrents of water that rushed down Willow Creek and Skull Valley Road Wash upended cars, destroyed houses and left the community without water. The Prescott Courier’s front page headline – “Destruction” – summed up the situation. Below it, “Flooding leaves homeless, but no deaths” was like a sigh of relief given the destruction.
Flood Strands YRMC Employees
“I remember that flood and how it devastated Prescott,” said Gerry Turley, a 40-year employee of Yavapai Regional Medical Center (YRMC) who worked in the hospital’s Accounting, Accounts Payable, Payroll and other business operation divisions.
YRMC was spared damage, but for days, hospital employees who were affected – including Harriet Mcqueary – struggled to get to work. But Mcqueary had a loyal and caring employee on her team who went out of her way for her supervisor.
“I convinced my father that Harriet Mcqueary needed to be at work,” Turley said. “We drove the back roads to get to where she lived and get her back to work.”
Turley and her father made that muddy trip as long as Willow Creek Road and Jack Drive were flooded.
YRMC Staff Offers Support
“Yavapai was a great place,” said Turley, who recalled the support she received on a number of occasions. “You knew you could depend on people and that’s still true.”