With rain expected this week, flood watch issued for metro Phoenix

Mar 20, 2023, 2:00 PM | Updated: Mar 21, 2023, 7:51 am

(Arizona Department of Transportation Photo)...

(Arizona Department of Transportation Photo)

(Arizona Department of Transportation Photo)

PHOENIX — With another round of rain expected this week, officials are warning about the increased risk of flooding in metro Phoenix.

A flood watch will go into effect at 11 a.m. Tuesday across a swath of central Arizona, the National Weather Service said.

Areas to the north and east of Phoenix, including Apache Junction, Gold Canyon, Cave Creek, New River, Fountain Hills and east Mesa, are included in the watch, which is scheduled to expire at 11 p.m. Wednesday.

That’s on top of an ongoing flood warning that runs until Saturday for flooding along the Salt and Gila rivers caused by water releases from upstream dams. A watch is issued when flooding is possible, while a warning is for when flooding is imminent or occurring.

There’s a slight chance for overnight showers in the Phoenix area, with activity expected to pick up late Tuesday morning and last into Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service. The rain could be accompanied by wind gusts in the range of 20-30 mph as the system moves through.

Jared Heil, meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Phoenix, said the heaviest activity will be in the higher terrain to the north and northwest of Phoenix.

“So for Phoenix itself, this is not going to be a huge rain event,” Heil said Monday in a video forecast. “Periods of clouds, some breezy weather, and perhaps a tenth to a third of an inch of rain in the Valley, less off to the south and southwest.”

The upcoming activity has the potential to cause more flooding in washes and other low-lying areas. Motorists who come across standing or running water are advised to “turn around, don’t drown.”

Storms dumped around half an inch of rain on the Valley last Wednesday.

The Phoenix area has seen 1.2 inches so far this month, making it the second-wettest March since 2006. The March average for the last 10 years is .59 inches.

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With rain expected this week, flood watch issued for metro Phoenix