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Monsoon storms bring heavy rain, flooding to parts of North Valley


Elizabeth Medora

NORTH VALLEY – The monsoon had something of a slow start this summer, but it’s making up for it now.

Last week, Anthem and New River received about two inches of rain. The Tramonto area received over an inch of rain, and north Peoria received just under an inch of rain. Over 1.5 inches of rain fell in Cave Creek, and less than one inch fell in Carefree. Desert Hills saw significant flooding, particularly on Aug. 2, when two different drivers became stuck in flooded roadways. Downtown Phoenix got as much as three inches of rain in some areas, causing I-17 closures on Aug. 2, and city officials also warned drivers to be on the lookout for manhole covers that were lifted by floodwaters.

Daisy Mountain Fire Department Battalion Chief Dave Wilson noted that crews were dispatched for two water rescues on Aug. 2, but both assignments were cancelled after units arrived on-scene because the vehicle occupants had extricated themselves from their vehicles and made it to safety.

“We as the fire department do not recommend getting out of your vehicle when stranded in a waterway due to the inherent risks involved; however, fortunately for the two water rescues Tuesday, there was a positive outcome,” Wilson reported. “Furthermore, we as a fire department would never recommend crossing a flooded roadway at any time.”

The two water rescue incidents were at 3rd St., north of Carefree Hwy. and 14th St. and Paint Your Wagon Trail. In the Paint Your Wagon Trail case, the vehicle occupants were able to get out without injuries, but the car was completely submerged by rushing water and forced downstream.

During monsoon season, water rescues are frequently necessitated by drivers attempting to cross flooded roads. This is extremely hazardous, both for vehicle occupants and for the rescuers.

“Once again, NEVER ATTEMPT TO CROSS A FLOODED ROADWAY,” Wilson emphasized.  

The Arizona Department of Transportation has been urging drivers to take additional precautions when driving in bad weather.

ADOT states that it’s important that drivers take it slow and drive safely in heavy rain and low visibility conditions:

  • First and foremost: SLOW DOWN. The posted speed limit may not be a safe speed to travel in bad weather. On wet roads your vehicle will have less traction than on a dry road. Slower travel speeds allow for safer braking and stopping distances.
  • Be sure to leave plenty of room between you and the vehicle in front of you and be aware of the vehicles around you in other travel lanes. Braking and shorter stopping distances will be affected by wet and slippery roadway surfaces.
  • Do not enter an area where the roadway has been closed by barricades due to flooding. You risk your life and face being cited under the state’s stupid motorist law.
  • Storm runoff can loosen boulders and rocks on slopes above highways. Stay alert in rockfall-prone areas.
  • Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars, causing loss of control or possible stalling. One to two feet of water will float most vehicles and can cause them to be swept away.

To get the latest travel information, including roads closed for flooding and potential road hazards, call 5-1-1 or go online to See Phoenix storm updates and safety tips at