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Downpour wakes up metro Phoenix, shuts down freeways, floods streets

PHOENIX — Schoolchildren clapped, parents and people who work for a living cursed, as record rains caused flooding, forced road closures, knocked out power and canceled classes Monday.

Two hours later that number was 3.29 inches.

That onslaught trapped drivers all over the Valley. Interstate 10 east of 43rd Avenue became a pond, stranding dozens. The westbound lanes were reopened about 2 p.m. while the eastbound lanes didn’t reopen until nearly 5:30 p.m.

The National Weather Service issued a flash-flood warning for Maricopa and Pinal counties that lasted until nearly 11 a.m.

Rain pounded the Valley, damaging a business and homes. A ceiling partially collapsed at a grocery store at Baseline Road and McClintock Drive in Tempe. There were no injuries.

Two transformers were submerged in Greenfield Park near Val Vista Drive and the US 60 and Meadow Green Parks near Lindsay and Broadway roads. Crews were unable to cut power. About 100 nearby homes were evacuated. A Red Cross shelter was set up at the Broadway Recreation Center near Broadway Road and Center Street for residents.

Roosevelt School District in Phoenix, Lichtfield Park Elementary and Buckeye school districts canceled classes. Washington School District delayed the start of classes, while Chandler, which was deluged with 4½ inches, had no plans to call off classes. Tempe Union High Schools made attendance optional.

Schools weren’t the only things closed. The Arizona House did not open, a Tempe Tilted Kilt said it would stay shuttered until 3 p.m. and the MVD office near 51st Avenue and Indian School said it would be closed through Tuesday. Multiple listeners told KTAR they were given the day off.

Children were playing in the rain as soon as possible, while adults were slogging their way — or trying — to work.

There was a lot of road closures throughout the day:

• U.S. 60 at Mill Avenue and Priest Drive

• Loop 202, in both directions, at the Intestate 10 interchange

• Loop 202 West at Price Road

• Grand Avenue at 19th Avenue

• Grand Avenue from 59th to 51st avenues

• State Route 51 at Cactus Road

• Interstate 10 at 43rd Avenue

• Greenway Road (underpass at Interstate 17)

• Interstate 17 at Indian School Road

• Priest Road at Queen Creek Road

• Happy Valley Road at 35th Avenue

• Happy Valley Road at I-17 onramps

Other closures included:

In south Tempe, traffic lights went out at Rural and Warner roads; Broadway Road and Dorsey Lane was closed;
Hardy Drive and Southern Avenue was closed.

The closures had Arizona Cardinals fans nervous. The team is scheduled to play the San Diego Chargers Monday evening and traffic was already predicted to be heavier than normal.

Last month, storms wreaked havoc in neighborhoods around South Mountain and a few days later, communities north of Phoenix
were on the receiving end.

The weather bureau noted that the monsoon usually averages 2.71 inches on the season.

A monsoon generally brings power failure with it, and utility companies SRP said about 12,000 customers were without electricity while APS reported about 10,000 were affected.

More rain was in the forecast for Tuesday.

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