Cleanup begins in wake of Arizona flooding - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH


Cleanup begins in wake of Arizona flooding

A man waves a white sheet after he became trapped in this house near 46100 N. 43rd Ave. in New River after a raging flood. (Source: CBS 5 News) A man waves a white sheet after he became trapped in this house near 46100 N. 43rd Ave. in New River after a raging flood. (Source: CBS 5 News)
Rescuers free a woman high water trapped her in a van near 153rd Avenue and Dynamite Road. (Source: CBS 5 News) Rescuers free a woman high water trapped her in a van near 153rd Avenue and Dynamite Road. (Source: CBS 5 News)
People push a stalled car out of a flooded roadway Tuesday morning after storm surge dropped substantial amounts of rain. (Source: CBS 5 News) People push a stalled car out of a flooded roadway Tuesday morning after storm surge dropped substantial amounts of rain. (Source: CBS 5 News)
Dogs in Laveen were enjoying the wet weather. (Source: CBS 5 News) Dogs in Laveen were enjoying the wet weather. (Source: CBS 5 News)

Residents in New River on began cleaning up Wednesday after serious flooding the previous day led to several water rescues, road closures, washed out roads and badly damaged homes.

In Phoenix, monsoon rains Tuesday created a sinkhole at Central Avenue and Bethany Home Road.

Rescue crews were kept busy Tuesday afternoon and evening with several water rescues after a monsoon surge that brought buckets of rain and extensive flooding to Arizona, trapped residents in their homes, closed a major freeway and paralyzed traffic on several surface streets.

The storm seemed relentless and even by nightfall, another new round of severe weather warnings for Maricopa County was issued. 

Tuesday night, four people, including a woman in a wheelchair, and a dog were rescued from a flooded wash in Scottsdale, Scottsdale Fire Capt. Dwayne E. Bader said. Their vehicle got stuck in the Indian Bend Wash near Eldorado park.

In Tuesday's storm, structures were demolished, heavy equipment was carried away and ranches were covered by the raging waters in New River, where more than 4 inches of rain was reported.  

Schools, businesses, homes and other buildings were reported flooded by the waters running off the desert.

Just before 3 p.m., 89 students at New River Elementary School were evacuated as a precaution to the Anthem Community Center at 41130 N. Freedom Way.

Earlier, the Sandra Day O'Connor High School had to temporarily relocate 12 classrooms of students within the school because of the flooding threat.

Deer Valley Unified School District spokeswoman Heidi Vega said water entered one of the classroom buildings. Vega said normal class schedules will continue while the flooding is cleaned up.

The Grand Canyon Chapter of the American Red Cross said it will open a shelter in Black Canyon City. At least 20 families fled a flooded trailer park in the area. The shelter will be located at Canon Elementary School at 34630 S. School Loop Road. Residents in need of assistance can call the Red Cross at 1-800-842-7349.

The Red Cross said it was monitoring rainfall in Coconino County, especially in the Slide Fire burn scar area of Oak Creek Canyon, for the threat of flooding in the area.

The city of Phoenix has set up a storm information page with lists of street closures and locations to pick up sand for sandbags.

Arizona Public Service reported at least 7,000 power outages scattered around the Valley at the height of the storm.  

Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport said at one point it was experiencing departure delays of up to two hours.

In one of the more dramatic rescues, a woman could be seen in a house surrounded by the raging waters and waving a white piece of cloth at news helicopters near 46100 N. 43rd Ave.

She and another person were trapped inside while water rushed past the home just below the level of the windows.

Phoenix firefighters lowered two rescuers to the roof of the house from their rescue helicopter, looking for a way to lift them to safety.

After more than an hour, the water receded to the point where crews could just walk up to the front door and lead the people to safety, along with their three dogs and two cats.

An elderly woman in a van became trapped in swift-moving floodwaters near 153rd Avenue and Dynamite Road, and was rescued by Maricopa County sheriff's personnel just before noon Tuesday.

[READ MORE: Crews rescue elderly woman trapped inside flooded minivan]

Standing water between Dixileta Drive and Happy Valley Road forced the Arizona Department of Transportation to close northbound traffic at Happy Valley Road, ADOT spokesman Doug Nintzel told CBS 5 News.

The far left lane reopened shortly after noon, according to ADOT. The waters came from the desert east of Interstate 17 along Dixileta Road, Nintzel said.

"It was a matter of enough floodwater inundated the desert and had nowhere to go but the righthand portion of the interstate," Nintzel said.

By mid-afternoon, the lanes reopened after the water receded, and crews got in to clean up the debris.

Farther north, a rockslide was reported on I-17 near Bumblebee. There was no word on how extensive the slide was.

Loop 303 is closed from Lake Pleasant Road to I-17. State Route 74 is closed in both directions from Lake Pleasant Road to Archery Drive, about three miles west of I-17.

A commercial nursery near Desert Hills Drive and 15th Avenue in New River was overrun by waters from the aftermath of Tuesday's storm.

The floodwaters from nearby Skunk Creek were swift enough to carry away some of the nursery's heavy equipment and almost carried a large trailer downstream.

More than 4 inches of rain fell in the New River area, according to the Flood Control District of Maricopa County precipitation map.

Here are some more precise 24-hour rainfall amounts from around the area:

4.61 inches - New River

4.53 inches - Horsethief Basin

3.66 inches - Seven Springs

3.46 inches - Skunk Creek

3.43 inches - Lake Pleasant

1.73 inches - Pima at Union Hills

1.42 inches - Sun City West

News helicopter footage showed horses in nearby fenced areas close to the nursery running through the rushing waters.

Westbound U.S. Highway 60 (Grand Avenue) was closed for a time in the morning from Olive to Northern avenues because of flooding but was reopened, an Arizona Department of Transportation spokesman said.

There were numerous other water rescues.

Phoenix and Peoria fire units headed to a report of a woman stranded in her car in high water about 7 a.m. near a canal behind Sandra Day O'Connor High School at 25250 N. 35th Ave. She was able to get out of her car safely.

Another water rescue was underway about 7:40 a.m. with Scottsdale units near the Carefree Highway and Terra Vita. By the time the units arrived, a black Ford Mustang with one adult and two children inside that had stalled in a fast-moving wash had been pulled to safety by a passerby in a Jeep, a Scottsdale Fire spokesman said.

Yet another rescue was reported underway about three minutes later near 12th Street and Cloud Road north of the Carefree Highway, but the car was out of the wash and everyone was safe, a Phoenix Fire Department spokesman said.

No injuries were reported.

Anywhere between 1 and 1.5 inches of rain fell in area from Maricopa into the East Valley and from Glendale to Peoria.

With all the flooding, mud and debris, people may wonder about the safety of the drinking water. The city of Phoenix said don't worry. The city closed the intakes to the Union Hills Water Treatment plant to prevent any contamination.

City workers said they will be able to meet all water demands with the use of the other treatment plants.

The storm was moving north toward Flagstaff, with Black Canyon City also getting hit hard.

Tuesday's rains inundated some neighborhoods already saturated from a week's worth of rain.

The hard-hit Southern Hills subdivision in the urban Phoenix community of Laveen received more rain and flooding, this on the heels of a town hall meeting between concerned residents and Phoenix officials Monday to discuss damaging flooding from a week ago.

Some cars chanced the muddy waters running across roadways, while another became stranded. In another Laveen neighborhood three dogs were enjoying themselves with a romp through stomach-high water.

New helicopter video showed even more roadways in the Laveen area flooded by runoff.

Phoenix police said Tuesday afternoon that West Dobbins Road from South 15th to South 27th avenues was closed due to the latest heavy rains. Only local traffic was permitted.

CBS 5 News viewers were providing videos of pounding rain at Arrowhead Lakes and in the Sonoran Foothills area southeast of the Carefree Highway and Interstate 17.

Thunderstorms will likely be popping up on Wednesday, as well, but calmer weather should start to settle in by Thursday, CBS 5 meteorologist Katie Baker said.

Track the weather with the CBS 5 interactive weather page or download our free app for iPhone or Android devices.

Get text alerts on your phone for severe weather in your neighborhood.

Stay with and CBS 5 News as this story develops.

Copyright 2014 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly