USA – Deadly Flash Floods in Arizona

At least 9 people have died in flash flooding that struck on 15 July in Tonto National Forest, Arizona.

Gila County sheriff’s office said that they received a 911 call at around 15:00 hours local time on 15 July regarding a Search and Rescue Operation around the Cold Springs Swimming Hole, a popular area for hiking, swimming and recreation.

The sheriff’s office confirmed on Sunday 16 July that 9 people had died with at least one person still missing. Search operations were suspended late on Sunday to resume Monday for the remaining missing individual.

It is thought that a group of family and friends was swept away while swimming in a creek that suddenly turned into a raging flood after a rainstorm upstream. Two rivers – Ellison Creek and East Verde River – run through the area and converge near Water Wheel.

Thunderstorms and and heavy rain affected areas around Payton between 14:00 and 16:00 on 15 July. The National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning for Gila County, including in areas scarred by a recent wildfire. NWS estimated that up to 1.5 inches (38 mm) of rain fell over the area in an hour.

A further storm on 16 July caused some flooding in the Phoenix area resulting in some problems on the roads. Litchfield Park recorded 2.05 inches (52 mm) in 24 hours 16 to 17 July, 2017.

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