PHOENIX - A Flash Flood Watch is in effect for 13 Arizona counties, including Maricopa County, as monsoon storms continue to bring rain, lightning, and hail to cities across the state.
The advisories are set to last throughout the weekend, as a weather system is expected to bring heavy rain and thunderstorms across large swaths of central and southern Arizona.
Mohave County is the latest county to be issued a weather advisory. Their Flash Flood Watch goes into effect Saturday afternoon.
The following counties are affected:
- Mohave from July 24 at 12 p.m. until July 26 at 12 a.m.
- Gila, Yavapai from July 22 at 11 a.m. until July 26 at 12 a.m.
- Apache, Coconino, Navajo from July 22 at 12 p.m. until July 26 at 1 a.m.
- Maricopa, Pinal from July 22 at 5 p.m. until July 26 at 12 a.m.
- Cochise, Graham, Greenlee, Pima, Santa Cruz from July 22 at 6 p.m. until July 26 at 12 a.m.
The expected rainfall could cause flash flooding in washes and areas with poor drainage systems. This is particularly an issue in areas with past burn scars from wildfires, which will be "especially prone to flash flooding and debris flow," according to the National Weather Service.
Thursday monsoon storms bring flooding, damage
A new round of monsoon weather brought windy conditions, as well as lightning and flooding from rainfall to parts of the Valley.
Besides rain and wind, some Valley roadways were also flooded during the late-night hours of July 22 as a result of the storm.
One of the hardest hit areas was at McCormick Ranch in Scottsdale, which is now littered with dozens of downed trees and power poles.
The McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park sustained so much damage on Thursday that it is not closed until further notice.
Customers inside the Fogo de Chao Brazilian Steakhouse near Lincoln Drive and Scottsdale Road say the storm took down power lines while they were eating.
One witness said she saw people trapped inside their cars because live wires were down around their vehicles.
APS crews are working to restore power despite rain, thunder and lightning continuing to batter down the city on Friday.
Power outages reported
As a round of monsoon storms hit the Phoenix area Thursday night, SRP reported a number of power outages throughout their service areas in the Valley. Most of the outages are centered in Scottsdale, Tempe, and Mesa. APS officials are also reporting power outages at multiple sites in the Phoenix area.
At one point, 14,000 APS customers were without power. As of Friday afternoon, around 2,200 customers are still without power in the metro Phoenix and Scottsdale area.
Flagstaff braces for more flooding
In Northern Arizona, the National Guard is stepping in, as flash flooding continues to impact communities affected by the Museum Fire.
The fire, which burned in 2019, left burn scars in the area.
Lt. Andrew Smith says the guard will be there for a week, and that time period can be extended.
With more rain expected, crews are making preparations.
"We put an additional almost 10,000 sandbags out just yesterday. We put in jersey barriers to stabilize channels, so that’s really just to help keep those flows into those channels so they don’t disperse out into the community," said Andy Bertelson, Flagstaff's Public Works Director.
The flooding has so far cost $4 million in damages, and there is a lot of work to be done to rebuild infrastructure in the area.
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey issued a Declaration of Emergency in response to ongoing flooding in the Flagstaff area, which has been affected on a daily basis by heavy rain and storms.
Many places in the state have received more rain in the past month than in the entire 2020 monsoon season, which ran from mid-June through September, the weather service said.
Be prepared and stay safe during the monsoon
The Glendale Fire Department reminds residents of ways they can be prepared and stay safe:
- Have flashlights with extra batteries on hand.
- Have food that can be prepared without the need for cooking or refrigeration.
- Have at least one gallon of clean water for each person in the household.
- Have backup power for anyone requiring power for a medical device.
- Have backup power for cell phones that do not require charging.
- Have a first aid kit ready and accessible.
- Never drive into areas with flowing water; it takes less than 10 inches to wash a car away.
- Avoid flooded areas, such as washes.
- If waters are rising, seek higher ground.
- Do not approach downed power lines, the ground can be energized for up to 200 feet.
- Keep pets indoors during storms.
Rain/flood safety tips
The American Red Cross' tips for heavy rain situations and flood safety:
- Turnaround don’t drown! If you must drive and you encounter a flooded roadway, turn around and go another way.
- If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising rapidly around you, get out of the car quickly and move to higher ground.
- Tune in to your local radio, NOAA radio, or news channels for the latest updates.
- If your neighborhood is prone to flooding, be prepared to evacuate quickly.
- Follow evacuation orders and do not attempt to return until officials say it is safe.
- If power lines are down, do not step in puddles or standing water.
- If power is out, use a flashlight. Do not use any open flame as alternate lighting.
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