The desert has become an ocean, as a record-setting 2.96 inches of rain in one day submerged Phoenix under the water. The downpour left the city in chaos as rescue workers have been out around the clock to get people off the freeways and to safety. Two people have died in the flooding.
The downpour is attributed to the remnants of hurricane Norbert, which, on Monday, combined with moisture in the atmosphere to create the massive storm above the Phoenix. The Phoenix National Weather Service gave some perspective on the flood waters, pointing to the average rainfall for the entire monsoon season, which lasts from June 15 until September 30. That's more rain in one day than Phoenix usually gets in about three and a half months.
Naturally, the storm surprised many people, some of whom were trapped on the freeway as the waters rose.
"A big tidal wave just came up and totally took me out, came over the hood of my truck," according to Joseph Friend, who was on getting onto the freeway under 43rd Ave.
Jan Brewer, who declared a state of emergency for Phoenix and the other affected areas, issued this tweet.
I am declaring a statewide emergency for areas impacted by today's severe rainfall and flooding. #TurnAroundDontDrown#azwx
— Jan Brewer (@GovBrewer) September 8, 2014
Two people have died in the flooding. One woman was killed Monday morning when the vehicle she was stuck in was swept away under the water. Firefighters attempted to find the submerged vehicle in time, but the woman was already deceased by the time the vehicle was located.
The Pinal County Sheriff's Office said in another statement that another woman died when she and her husband attempted to cross a flood wash but were swept away.
The Arizona Department of Transportation traffic cameras captured some of the devastation.
I-10 flooding gives a new meaning to car pool! #azwx#monsoonpic.twitter.com/QaGFvUvs8f
— Michael Chow (@photochowder) September 8, 2014
Look at the freeway out here in AZ pic.twitter.com/kvtgClLaF0
— DeAnthony.Eas (@TREExANTHONY) September 8, 2014
#azwx 15th ave and Desert hills pic.twitter.com/FAaHaXwpL2
— AZWeatherChick (@AZweatherchick) September 8, 2014
It's advised that people in the water-logged area stay off the roads. Schools were closed and non-essential state employees were ordered to stay home. About 13,000 homes and businesses lost power in the Phoenix area.
With monsoon season drawing to a close, Phoenix will soon have enough time to repair the damage and bail out from under the water.
[Image Credit: Syroco/Wikimedia]