AZ flood threat rises as weekend storms hit the ValleyPosted: Updated:
Widespread rain, mountain snow, gusty winds and chilly temperatures are tracking into Arizona this weekend as a Pacific storm system pushes in from the West.
In Metro Phoenix, showers started off light Saturday, but rain will become heavy at times Saturday afternoon and evening.
By 5 p.m. Saturday, the National Weather Service in Phoenix reported that .47 inches of rain had already fallen.
“The forecast remain on track for widespread rainfall developing across all of southwest and south-central Arizona today (Saturday),” National Weather meteorologists said in their morning weather discussion.
Rain will continue overnight with light scattered showers throughout the day Sunday. Rainfall totals around Metro Phoenix may range from .75" to 1.25".
Southerly winds will be breezy, with gusts of up to 35 mph possible. Until rain saturates the dry desert, blowing dust will be possible. Daytime highs will be in the mid-60s.
In Central Arizona, 1" to 2" rain totals are expected through Sunday.
“The potential for flash flooding will remain quite elevated, especially across the higher terrain north and east of Phoenix,” NWS forecasters said.
A Flash Flood Watch is in effect for Greater Phoenix and Southern Gila County from 11 a.m. Saturday through 7 a.m. Sunday.
This watch is also in effect currently for Northern Gila County and Yavapai County until 2 p.m. Sunday.
Flooding of washes, creeks and other drainages areas are possible during this time. Never drive through a flooded area.
8 AM WIND GUSTS
The National Weather Service office in Phoenix noted these wind gusts for selected location as of 8 a.m. Saturday:
36 mph – Williams
29 mph – Prescott/Sierra Vista/Nogales
26 mph – Gila Bend
25 mph – Tucson
20 mph - Buckeye
PACIFIC STORM SLAMS CA
The same storm system has been embedded the past few days over Southern California, dropping more than 8 inches of rain in some places.
In the desert town of Victorville, several cars were washed down a flooded street, and one man was found dead in a submerged vehicle after others were rescued, San Bernardino County fire spokesman Eric Sherwin said.
[RELATED: 2 dead as storm lashes Southern California]
And in the Sherman Oaks area of Los Angeles, a man was electrocuted when a tree falling in heavy rain downed power lines that hit his car.
Winds gusting to 70 mph or more lashed parts of the region. Heavy rains turned creeks and rivers into brown torrents and released slews of mud from hillsides burned barren by wildfires.
Several stretches of freeways and highways were closed by flooding, including very busy arteries like Interstate 5 and Interstate 10.
In LA's Sun Valley, 10 cars were trapped in swift-moving water on a roadway and 15 people had to be rescued, the Fire Department reported.
HIGH COUNTRY BRACES FOR SNOW
In Northern and Eastern Arizona, snow levels will range from 6,500 ft. in the Kaibab Plateau, to 8,000 ft. in the White Mountains Saturday.
Snow levels will drop Saturday night between 6,000 and 7,000 ft. as the coldest air from this system moves into the state.
Snowfall totals between Saturday and Sunday will range from 3" to 6" in Flagstaff, 1" to 3" in Show Low, 5" to 9" in Forest Lakes and 2" to 4" in Heber-Overgaard.
A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect from 5 p.m. Saturday through 5 p.m. Sunday above 6,000 ft.
Periods of falling snow and gusty winds will make driving difficult. Be prepared for slipper roads and reduced visibilities.
“A brief period of snowfall may occur Sunday morning across the highest elevations of southern Gila County as snow levels fall to around 6,000 feet,” NWS meteorologists said.
Winds in the high country may hit gusts of 40 to 50 mph Saturday. A Wind Advisory is in effect until 5 p.m. Saturday for the Coconino Plateau.
By Monday, warmer and drier weather moves into Arizona.
RAIN SPARKS CLOSURES
In addition, the Science Spectacular in Chandler has been canceled. It was scheduled for Saturday afternoon at the downtown library in Chandler. Astronaut Brian Duffy is still scheduled to speak at City Council chambers at 88 E. Chicago St. from 1 to 1 p.m.
The 3rd Annual Maricopa Copa Color Fun Run scheduled Saturday at Copper Sky Regional Park amphitheater has been scrubbed due to the weather.
Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.