PHOENIX — Severe weather brought heavy rain, thunder, lightning and strong winds to the Valley early Monday morning. Widespread flooding caused Gov. Jan Brewer is declare “a statewide emergency for areas impacted by today’s severe rainfall and flooding.”
In addition, Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton declared a state of emergency for the city, activating the Emergency Operations Center.
“We are seeing a historic amount of rain and significant flooding, and I’m proud of how quickly the city responded to keep our residents safe and up to date on what’s happening,” Stanton said. “Our emergency management team will work around the clock to monitor the situation and deploy the necessary resources to areas of our community hit the hardest.”
The National Weather Service issued a Flash Flood Warning that was in effect until 4:45 a.m. The agency later extended it to 6:30 a.m., and then again until 10:30 a.m. The NWS finally canceled that warning shortly before it was set to expire.
Gov. Brewer has declared a statewide emergency for areas impacted by severe rainfall and flooding on Monday.
Rain gauges across the Phoenix area indicated as much as 1 to 3 inches of rain has fallen in some areas.
The official rainfall total at Sky Harbor International Airport was more than 3 inches and increasing at 9 a.m., shattering the old daily record of 1.33 inches. That is an all-time record for rain in a single day at Sky Harbor.
“We’re looking at a historic day of flooding out there,” 3TV meteorologist April Warnecke said.
Less than 24 hours ago, the Valley was well behind on its year-to-day rainfall. With Monday’s storm, we have not only caught up, we are now officially ahead, and the rain continues to come down.
Flash flooding has been observed throughout the Valley metro area, including on several freeways.
Interstate 10 and 43rd Avenue was one of the worst sites. The water was so high, dozens of drivers were forced to abandon their cars. Water was up to the brake lights on many of those vehicles.
State Route 51 flooded where the freeway dips below the Cactus Road underpass. Traffic in both directions was forced off the freeway, but allowed to re-enter both north and south of Cactus Road.
The Superstition Freeway was flooded at Val Vista Drive with water up to the hoods of some vehicles, according to Public Information Officer Raul Garcia with the Arizona Department of Public Safety.
A representative from AAA Arizona said the organization was inundated with calls for help Monday morning.
“Compared to a typical Monday morning, we’ve received 60 percent more calls for roadside assistance due to inclement weather,” said John Walter, director of automotive and fleet operations for AAA Arizona. “We’ve got our entire fleet out there getting to our members as soon as safely possible. Unfortunately, this weather has caused delays for us, too.”
Salt River Project and Arizona Public Service were reporting thousands of homes and businesses without electricity due to the weather. The outages were from San Tan Valley to northwest Phoenix.
In addition to numerous school delays and closures, some government offices were advising people to postpone visits if possible.
“Due to the widespread flooding issues throughout the Phoenix metro area, the Department of Economic Security is requesting consumers delay visits to DES offices until further notice,” read an email sent to the 3TV and azfamily.com newsroom. “In the meantime, services can be accessed through the DES website at www.azdes.gov.”
In addition, Brewer advised non-essential state employees to stay home.