‘Potent weather system’ to dump rain across metro Phoenix on Friday

Dec 21, 2023, 2:00 PM

Traffic makes its way through flooded streets as rain comes down Thursday, Dec. 21, 2023, in Santa ...

A Pacific storm that caused flooding in Southern California is expected to bring heavy rain to the Phoenix area on Friday, Dec. 22, 2023. (AP Photo/Eugene Garcia)

(AP Photo/Eugene Garcia)

PHOENIX – A Pacific storm that wreaked havoc Thursday in Southern California has Arizona in its sights.

“We’re looking at a pretty potent weather system that will be impacting much of the Southwest as we head into the holiday weekend,” Isaac Smith of the National Weather Service in Phoenix told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Thursday morning. “So, we’re going to be seeing a widespread heavy rainfall across much of the Valley.”

Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport picked up 0.03 inches of rain earlier this week, pushing the city’s official 2023 total to 3.48 inches, more than 3 inches below normal. A good chunk of that deficit will likely be made up Friday.

A 24-hour flash flood watch is set to begin at 6 a.m. Friday across a swath of southern and central Arizona, including the entire Phoenix area, which could start seeing signs of activity late Thursday. Anyone driving Friday should be patient and expect trips to take longer than usual.

How much rain is expected to fall across Phoenix area on Friday?

It’s going to be a no-doubt dousing on Friday, according to the National Weather Service, which puts the chance for rain throughout the day at 100%.

Forecasters are expecting parts of the Valley to get upwards of 1-1½ inches of rain before activity winds down Saturday.

“The places that will see the most rainfall are expected to be places north and east of Phoenix, so the northern foothills and then places east out across the Superstitions,” Smith said.

The system could included embedded thunderstorms, Smith said.

“With any of those it could be looking at some locally heavier rainfall in any areas that experience those thunderstorms,” he said.

What is the Christmas weather forecast for metro Phoenix?

Skies are expected to be mostly sunny Sunday and Monday for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, with high temperatures in the low 60s.

California was hit by heavy rain and street flooding Thursday morning, the first day of winter. The deluge put a damper on the start of holiday travel season, with rainfall rates exceeding 3 inches an hour in coastal Ventura County.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Jim Cross and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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‘Potent weather system’ to dump rain across metro Phoenix on Friday