Photos: Morning rain, thunderstorms usher in active weather weekend


by Catherine Holland

Video report by April Warnecke and Ryan O'Donnell

Posted on September 7, 2012 at 7:38 AM

Updated Sunday, Nov 10 at 7:19 PM

PHOENIX -- Rain and thunderstorms popped up in several areas Friday morning, bringing cooler temperatures and ushering in what's looking to be an active weather weekend.

The storms popped up quickly, but were relatively powerful, dropping quite a bit of rain in a short amount of time. Because the storms were slow moving, the threat of flooding was considerable. Some street and parking lot flooding had been reported by 7:30 a.m.

The National Weather Service issue a Flash Flood Warning until 11:45 a.m., and a Flash Flood Watch through tonight. A warning means specific weather is occurring or imminent and you should take safety precautions. A watch means there is potential for certain weather that you need to be aware of.

The Mesa and Apache Junction fire departments were called out to a water rescue at Southern Avenue and Merdian Road at about 8 a.m.. Crews rescued two people and closed the intersection due to flooding. Aerial video from the scene showed the car stuck in the muddy water.

Video also caught two other drivers making their way through the flooded roadway. A third vehicle didn't make it. The driver was trapped inside, but did not appear to be injured. A firefighter helped her out and walked her to safety.

It looked like the water was more than halfway up the wheels of her car.

At least two more water rescues were reported in the same area within a relatively short time.

Arizona has what's known as the "Stupid Motorist Law." Under that law, drivers who get stuck after going around barricades or signs into flooded roadways can be charged the cost of their rescue.

Parts of the East Valley got slammed as the storm hovered in place and continued to dump rain. The westbound side of U.S. 60 at Meridian Road flooded.

Early in the morning the heaviest rain was north of the Valley. Flooding is possible the Crown King burn area all the way down to Black Canyon City.

Radar showed the line of storms extending south along Interstate 17.

Temperatures in Anthem dropped from the mid-80s to the upper 70s in just an hours as the storm moved through.

Another set of storms was pushing in from the east and southeast. There was quite a bit of activity in the southern part of the state all the way down to Pima County. Those are the storms that dumped serious rain on the East Valley.

Plan on a  high in the mid-90s in the Valley Friday with rain possible off an on all day, and becoming more likely in the late afternoon and early evening.

According to 3TV meteorologist April Warnecke, storm chances will stay in the forecast through the weekend and into next week.

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