Localized flooding throughout Phoenix metro area

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by azfamily.com

3TV Team Coverage

Posted on August 19, 2014 at 6:23 AM

Updated Wednesday, Aug 20 at 2:51 PM

PHOENIX -- Hard rain came down throughout the Valley and surrounding areas Tuesday morning, soaking several areas that are still reeling from last week's flooding.

3TV Meteorologist April Warnecke said showers would continue off and on throughout the day. An inch had fallen since 5:30 a.m., and it was still coming down more than an hour later, prompting the National Weather Service to issue a Flood Watch and Advisory. The NWS later upgraded the watch to a Flash Flood Warning that originally was to expire at 9 a.m., but was extended several times throughout the morning and early afternoon. It expired at 7:15 p.m.

The difference between a warning and a watch is that a warning means a specific weather activity, like flooding, is happening while a watch means that it is possible or even imminent.

"We haven't seen a storm like this move through the Valley during the morning hours in quite some time," Warnecke said. "Any more rain that we do get is falling on already saturated ground."

The Flash Flood warning covers North-central Maricopa County, including North Phoenix, Peoria, Anthem, New River, Cave Creek and Carefree.

Several washes in those areas -- Cave Creek, Cline Creek, Skunk Creek, Deadman Wash and their tributaries -- were flowing heavily "with water levels at bankfull near many communities."

Rainfall today

  • New River -- 4.48"
  • Black Canyon City -- 3.78"
  • Cave Creek -- 1.50"
  • North Phoenix -- 1.38"
  • Desert Ridge -- 1.32"
  • Glendale -- 1.10"

The weather also spawned some delays at Sky Harbor International Airport. Not only were there departure delays of up to two hours, some inbound flights were diverted other other airports. By the evening, however, operations were returning to normal.

"We are still seeing minor departure and arrival delays of about 20 minutes," Sky Harbor spokeswoman Julie Rodriguez said  in an update to media outlets shortly before 5 p.m.

Those delays are expected to resolve as the evening progresses.

Because more rain is expected over the next few days, flooding could continue to be an issue. To help residents protect their homes as much as possible, the Phoenix Fire Department is offering free sand on a first come, first served basis. You will need to bring your own bags and shovels.

  • Station 11 2727 E. Roosevelt St.
  • Station 26 3301 W. Rose Land
  • Station 31 5730 E. Thunderbird Road
  • Station 36 21602 N. Ninth Ave.
  • Station 39 2276 W. Southern Ave.
  • Station 40 3838 N. 83rd Ave.
  • Station 43 4110 E. Chandler Blvd.
  • Station 48 5230 W. Happy Valley Road
  • Station 49 3750 E. Dynamite Blvd.
  • Station 52 21650 N. Tatum Blvd.

Sand is also available at Phoenix Streets Facilities between 6:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.

  • Southwest Division: 3045 S. 22nd Ave. -- 602-256-3109
  • North Division: 138 E. Union Hills -- 602-262-6922
  • Southeast Division: 3828 E. Anne St. -- 602-262-6847
  • Central Division: 4020 W. Glenrosa -- 602-262-6717

According to SRP, some 3,000 people were without power as a result of storm activity.

  • 83rd Avenue to 51st Avenue and Olive Avenue to Bethany Home Road
  • 43rd Avenue to 19th Avenue and Camelback Road to Thomas Road

The electricity went out in those areas at about 6:15 a.m. SRP had power restored to those people by about 8:30 a.m.

APS reported about 1,050 customers without power in the Cave Creek area. Things were back up and running by 8:25 a.m.

The heavy rain caused some localized street flooding, making driving a challenge for morning commuters because of localized street flooding. Several water rescues were called out for drivers caught in the flooding. No injuries were reported.

Safety experts say if you see standing water in the roadway, do not drive into it. It does not take much to disable a vehicle. It is always better to err on the side of caution and turn around.

By 8 a.m., the rain had dissipated, but the damage was done.

Aerial video from Chopper 3 showed quite a bit of flooding in the New River area. The chopper was overhead as two pickup trucks struggled through a flooded area, exactly what firefighters say you should not do. While both drivers made it across safely, it was touch as go as the fast-moving water nearly swept the vehicles away.

Tuesday's weather also is a nightmare for those still cleaning up from the last storm.

3TV's Jill Galus was at 24th Avenue and Dobbins Road at the base of South Mountain at 6 a.m. It took just minutes for the rain to transform the road into a muddy river with fast-moving water rushing down the street.

This is the same area that saw quite a bit of flood damage just a week ago.

"I am literally soaked through and through," Galus said.

Last week's torrential rain, about 3 inches in just an hour, flooded several homes and streets. Firefighters from Station 57 rescued 16 people from cars that were caught in the fast-moving flood water.

Residents in the area are concerned and frustrated. They say city and county engineers approved the plans that are now leaving their homes defenseless every time it rains.

On Monday evening, city and state leaders, SRP, and engineers held a meeting to address those concerns and discuss flooding in the area. It was standing-room only.

"I think our governor should consider this a State of Emergency. We have a general fund for emergencies," said State Representative Catherine Miranda.

Neighbors say they walked out of the meeting more frustrated than they were before. "We didn't get any answers. Just a lot of excuses," Baccus said.

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton toured some of the flooded homes in the area to survey the damage. He said the city would look at working with local non-profits to get residents the help they need.

"We need to make sure we learn the important lessons from what happened here," Stanton said. "That flood was devastating to these families ... and it happened in a very short period of time.

"Obviously it personalizes it when you meet these homeowners and see what they've had to deal with over the last few days," he continued. "It's important that the city, the county and all of the appropriate agencies learn lessons and make sure we improve for the future."

Anyone who had flood damage in the South Mountain area is encouraged to call the Red Cross.

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