About 5:30 PM on Saturday, September 5th, Prescott Regional Communication Center started to receive multiple 911 calls of overturned kayakers on Watson Lake. When the initial crews arrived on scene they encountered high winds and multiple people in the lake surrounded by kayaks and paddle boards. At the point in time that the high winds occurred there was a thunderstorm with a microburst that produced winds in excess of 50 miles per hour. There were downed trees and limbs in the Watson Lake and Watson Lake parking area.
Prescott Fire Dept. Station 74 launched their boat at assist the people in the water. In total, there were 15 people that were affected at various places on the lake when the high winds occurred. Most all of the kayakers and paddle boarders were wearing lifejackets at the point when the microburst occurred. The people were found on lake shores and on rock outcroppings in the middle of the lake. After about 45 minutes, the winds died down where all but two of the people were able to go back to their original starting positions on the lake.
The lakes surrounding Prescott this time of year are absolutely gorgeous to spend time on and in. It’s very important, however, that if you are on any lake on a paddleboard, kayak or boat, it’s very important to wear a US Coast Guard approved personal flotation device. Microbursts like this can occur without warning and while yesterday everyone was OK, the outcome could’ve been significantly worse if most, if not all, the people had not been wearing life jackets.