Record breaking rainfall caused flash flooding in southern Arizona yesterday, 08 September 2014, which resulted in the deaths of two people in the Tucson area of the state.
The massive rainfall was said to be caused by the remnants of former Hurricane Norbert that hit parts of Mexico in the previous days. Heavy rain and flash flooding was also seen in parts of Nevada and southern California, causing chaos on many of the states’ roads.
According to WMO figures, Phoenix saw 84 mm (3.3 inches) of rain fall in 24 hours to 08 September 2014. This beats the previous high of 74 mm (2.91 inches), set in 1933 This amount of rainfall in Arizona (3.3 inches) is more than the combined total normally seen in the 3 months of July, August, and September.
A woman died after her car became submerged in 10 feet of flood water in a residential area in east Tucson. Rescue teams couldn’t reach the victim in time.
A second victim drowned in her car after it was caught in flash floods in Oracle Junction, north of Tucson. A second passenger, the victim’s husband, managed to escape from the vehicle and survived.
The flash floods caused havoc on the state’s road network, in particular around the Phoenix area, where dozens of cars were trapped on Interstates 10 and 17. Later on Monday, Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton declared a state of emergency in the city where hundreds of residents were coming to terms with water damage in their homes. Interstate 15 in north west Arizona was also affected by the flooding.
Underwater parking lot – thy name is #Arizona – Flash floods take their toll on #Phoenix http://t.co/KTEU3cN64l pic.twitter.com/i5T8BI8gHk
— 7News DC (@7NewsDC) September 8, 2014
Oof. What the hell happened, Phoenix? http://t.co/s7SpcGpnXo pic.twitter.com/5WvvpuM5CN
— Leon Drouin Keith (@ldkeith) September 9, 2014
Downpour wakes up metro Phoenix shuts down freeways floods streets http://t.co/ArT9qsbzVd State of Emergency declared pic.twitter.com/01SDMbRRCj
— Elisabeth (@10thAmendment) September 8, 2014
Flash floods also struck in parts of Nevada, in particular Moapa, which is about 70 km / 45 miles north east of Las Vegas, where 118 mm (4.67 inches) of rain fell on Monday – an extreme amount of rain in this desert area.
Pic of the street I live on after the #MoapaFlood #Moapa @LVMeteorologist pic.twitter.com/nN0vUEcU80
— Rlan Levi (@RlanLevi) September 9, 2014
Flood water was so high that vehicles floated along Interstate 15. Some flooding was also seen in the Las Vegas area.
Some people were trapped in vehicles ad had to be rescued by emergency teams in Southern California. Interstate 215, Highway 74 and 243 were worst affected and at one point as many as 70 vehicles were trapped by flash floods.