Latest round of rain creates issues for drivers on Valley roadways

Mar 22, 2023, 6:51 AM | Updated: 11:49 am

(Screenshot via Arizona Department of Transportation Webcam)...

(Screenshot via Arizona Department of Transportation Webcam)

(Screenshot via Arizona Department of Transportation Webcam)

PHOENIX – Rain came down across metro Phoenix on Wednesday, creating problems on roadways during the morning rush hour.

A pothole formed on southbound Interstate 17 near Deer Valley Road during an intense rainfall, affecting two lanes. The Arizona Department of Transportation said an issue with a joint expansion was repaired quickly.

The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office said two people whose vehicle was trapped in flood waters in Cave Creek were rescued around 8 a.m.

“In the northern part of Maricopa County and through Yavapai County over the past 24 hours we’ve seen anywhere from an inch-and-a-half to 3 inches of rain,” meteorologist Mark O’Malley told KTAR News 92.3 FM.

“It’s created a large amount of flow into some of the smaller creeks and streams.”

But the showers will move quickly through the Valley, O’Malley said, out by 11 a.m.

“For the majority of the metro, it will not amount to much rain at all.”

Most of the Valley saw some rain from Tuesday until Wednesday morning, with more than an inch falling in higher elevations north of Phoenix, according to Maricopa County’s rainfall data map.

It was already the second-wettest March since 2006 for the Phoenix area before this week’s activity.

And the area could continue to feel the impact of the unusually wet weather after the rain stops falling.

A flood watch is in effect for communities north, east and southeast of Phoenix until 11 p.m. Wednesday.

Salt and Gila river crossings at Gilbert Road, McKellips Road, 67th Avenue and 91st Avenue, which are usually dry, remained closed due to flooding caused by water releases from upstream dams.

Salt River Project said Tuesday it was increasing water releases from two reservoirs on the Verde River, which feeds into the Salt River in metro Phoenix.

The reservoirs already were more than 80% full, so the utility company is making room for additional accumulation from rainfall and snowmelt.

In northern Maricopa County, a flood warning is in effect along the Hassayampa River south of Wickenburg until 11:15 p.m. Wednesday.

State Route 74 was closed in both directions between Lake Pleasant Parkway and Interstate 17 because of water on the roadway, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation.

Farther north, in Yavapai County, communities near Sedona were evacuated Tuesday and Wednesday as storms brought flooding to the area for the second time in two weeks.

Sedona was under a flood watch and flood advisory until 11 p.m. Wednesday. Heavy rain and wind gusts of up to 40 mph were in the forecast.

The weather service also extended a flood warning of the Verde River near Clarkdale to 7 a.m. on Thursday. That areas includes Cottonwood and Verde Village.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Jim Cross contributed to this report.

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Latest round of rain creates issues for drivers on Valley roadways