Monsoon storms slam northern Phoenix with rainfall not seen in y - Tucson News Now

Monsoon storms slam northern Phoenix with rainfall not seen in years.

PHOENIX (CBS5) - Residents in New River on began cleaning up Wednesday after serious flooding the previous day led to several water rescues, road closures, washed out roads and badly damaged homes.

In Phoenix, monsoon rains Tuesday created a sinkhole at Central Avenue and Bethany Home Road.

Rescue crews were kept busy Tuesday afternoon and evening with several water rescues after a monsoon surge that brought buckets of rain and extensive flooding to Arizona, trapped residents in their homes, closed a major freeway and paralyzed traffic on several surface streets.

The storm seemed relentless and even by nightfall, another new round of severe weather warnings for Maricopa County was issued. 

Tuesday night, four people, including a woman in a wheelchair, and a dog were rescued from a flooded wash in Scottsdale, Scottsdale Fire Capt. Dwayne E. Bader said. Their vehicle got stuck in the Indian Bend Wash near Eldorado Park.

In Tuesday's storm, structures were demolished, heavy equipment was carried away and ranches were covered by the raging waters in New River, where more than 4 inches of rain was reported.  

Schools, businesses, homes and other buildings were reported flooded by the waters running off the desert.

Just before 3 p.m., 89 students at New River Elementary School were evacuated as a precaution to the Anthem Community Center at 41130 N. Freedom Way.

Earlier, the Sandra Day O'Connor High School had to temporarily relocate 12 classrooms of students within the school because of the flooding threat.

Deer Valley Unified School District spokeswoman Heidi Vega said water entered one of the classroom buildings. Vega said normal class schedules will continue while the flooding is cleaned up.

Arizona Public Service reported at least 7,000 power outages scattered around the Valley at the height of the storm.  

Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport said at one point it was experiencing departure delays of up to two hours.

In one of the more dramatic rescues, a woman could be seen in a house surrounded by the raging waters and waving a white piece of cloth at news helicopters near 46100 N. 43rd Ave.

She and another person were trapped inside while water rushed past the home just below the level of the windows.

Phoenix firefighters lowered two rescuers to the roof of the house from their rescue helicopter, looking for a way to lift them to safety.

After more than an hour, the water receded to the point where crews could just walk up to the front door and lead the people to safety, along with their three dogs and two cats.

An elderly woman in a van became trapped in swift-moving floodwaters near 153rd Avenue and Dynamite Road, and was rescued by Maricopa County sheriff's personnel just before noon Tuesday.

Standing water between Dixileta Drive and Happy Valley Road forced the Arizona Department of Transportation to close northbound traffic at I-17 at Happy Valley Road, ADOT spokesman Doug Nintzel told CBS 5 News.

"It was a matter of enough floodwater inundated the desert and had nowhere to go but the righthand portion of the interstate," Nintzel said.

By mid-afternoon, the lanes reopened after the water receded, and crews got in to clean up the debris.

Farther north, a rockslide was reported on I-17 near Bumblebee. There was no word on how extensive the slide was.

A commercial nursery near Desert Hills Drive and 15th Avenue in New River was overrun by waters from the aftermath of Tuesday's storm.

The floodwaters from nearby Skunk Creek were swift enough to carry away some of the nursery's heavy equipment and almost carried a large trailer downstream.

More than 4 inches of rain fell in the New River area, according to the Flood Control District of Maricopa County precipitation map.

Here are some more precise 24-hour rainfall amounts from around the area:
4.61 inches - New River
4.53 inches - Horsethief Basin
3.66 inches - Seven Springs
3.46 inches - Skunk Creek
3.43 inches - Lake Pleasant
1.73 inches - Pima at Union Hills
1.42 inches - Sun City West

News helicopter footage showed horses in nearby fenced areas close to the nursery running through the rushing waters.

There were numerous other water rescues.

Phoenix and Peoria fire units headed to a report of a woman stranded in her car in high water about 7 a.m. near a canal behind Sandra Day O'Connor High School. She was able to get out of her car safely.

Another water rescue was underway about 7:40 a.m. with Scottsdale units near the Carefree Highway and Terra Vita. By the time the units arrived, a black Ford Mustang with one adult and two children inside that had stalled in a fast-moving wash had been pulled to safety by a passerby in a Jeep, a Scottsdale Fire spokesman said.

Yet another rescue was reported underway about three minutes later near 12th Street and Cloud Road north of the Carefree Highway, but the car was out of the wash and everyone was safe, a Phoenix Fire Department spokesman said.

No injuries were reported.

Anywhere between 1 and 1.5 inches of rain fell in area from Maricopa into the East Valley and from Glendale to Peoria.

With all the flooding, mud and debris, people may wonder about the safety of the drinking water. The city of Phoenix said don't worry. The city closed the intakes to the Union Hills Water Treatment plant to prevent any contamination.

City workers said they will be able to meet all water demands with the use of the other treatment plants.

Tuesday's rains inundated some neighborhoods already saturated from a week's worth of rain.

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