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Another storm drops on metro Phoenix, flooding woes continue

PHOENIX — Another storm greeted Valley residents Tuesday evening, with some parts getting enough heavy rain to wash out roadways and foundations.

Storms flared up again near Black Canyon City, Ariz., and New River, Ariz., both north of Anthem, along Interstate 17 after 5 p.m.

In New River, cars and mobile houses were carried away by rushing water and overflowing washes.

There were also reports of roadways north of the Carefree Highway that have been torn up by rushing water. At Galloway Wash in Cave Creek, trees were rushed away by waters, threatening structures.

The National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning for north central Maricopa County and south central Arizona that was in effect until 10:45 p.m.

Another storm developed over the Loop 101 near Buckeye and moved east across the west Valley. As a result, the NWS had also issued a severe thunderstorm warning until 7:15 p.m. for the same areas, which included Goodyear, Litchfield park, Luke AFB, downtown Glendale and downtown Peoria.

All rain is expected to move through by 10 p.m.

More than 8 inches of rain had fallen across metro Phoenix between early morning and early afternoon. Crews were busy with several water rescues but despite the drama, no injuries had been reported.

“This is the worst we’ve ever seen,” said Danny Roberts of Anthem.

The North Valley had already been hit once Tuesday.

Water had reached the freeway at Interstate 17 northbound near Happy Valley Road, turning the roadway into a muddy river. State transportation officials closed off the freeway in both directions by 10 a.m. and Carefree Highway was closed 3 miles west of the freeway.

“It was hell just trying to get to I-17,” said Phoenix resident Christine Wilder. “I got on I-17 via the 303 and then I called ahead to some friends in Black Canyon (City) and they said, ‘Turn around.’ They said they saw heavy machinery, like for plowing snow, coming down the freeway.”

All lanes of I-17 were reopened by 3 p.m.

A little farther north, a trailer park in Black Canyon City was evacuated.

A man rescued from a roof in New River, Ariz., said he had no warning of the flooding.

“When I left the river, it was coming up,” said Kenneth, who declined to give his last name. “By the time I got to the house, it broke through somewhere else and it came through the back side of the property.

“I don’t know how many miles per hour, but it was pretty fast.”

Kenneth said he left his house as soon as possible but had to leave his dog, a 9-month-old Belgian Shepherd named Augustus, behind.

“I didn’t want to leave the dog, but I didn’t have a choice. The water was coming too fast.”

Also in New River, students from New River Elementary School were evacuated to a community center in Anthem Thursday afternoon as a precaution.

Video posted to Facebook showed manhole covers blown off by pressure from flood waters in north Phoenix.

Some classrooms at Sandra Day O’Connor High School near Happy Valley Road and 35th Avenue had water make its way inside. The school said 12 classrooms were temporarily relocated, but classes continued.

Video posted to Facebook showed manhole covers blown off by pressure from flood waters in north Phoenix.

Phoenix Sky Harbor experienced weather-related delays.

The north Valley wasn’t the only area to feel Mother Nature’s hand.

Dobbins Road was closed in both directions at 35th Avenue in Phoenix. That area was savaged by rainwater last week. This time storm waters pooled in streets near the South Mountain homes, as three-quarters of an inch fell in less than an hour.

Police were responding to storm-related accidents all over town: collisions, vehicles stuck in water; and traffic lights were out in some neighborhoods.

Power went out for about 3,000 people on the west side, from 43rd to 19th avenues to Camelback and Thomas roads, and from 83rd to 51st avenues to Olive Avenue and Bethany Home Road.

Debris was collecting in the streets.

The weather service had predicted rain for Tuesday and some for Wednesday.

Up in the air, Sky Harbor Airport reported flights were delayed incoming and outgoing because of the weather. Departing flights were running up to two hours behind.

The wet weather wasn’t confined to the Valley.

“It’s like a conveyor belt of showers coming through here,” weather bureau meteorologist Ken Waters said. “We’re seeing new cells popping up in
the Phoenix area and just outside the Phoenix area.”

KTAR’s Sandra Haros, Martha Maurer and Associated Press contributed to this report.