The calendar year is about a full two months into fall, yet the Valley is seeing rain a week before Thanksgiving.
Rain arrived in the Valley for some people Tuesday evening, but Wednesday saw the brunt of it. Downpours were seen on the Loop 101 Agua Fria between Thomas and Bell roads, and puddles were present along 99th Avenue between Olive Avenue and Bell Road.
According to the National Weather Service, a flash flood warning was in effect in the West Valley through 11:30 a.m. Wednesday. The sun had yet to be seen in the Valley until around 9:30 a.m.
Rainfall in the West Valley subsided around that time but picked back up around 11:30 a.m. Rain is expected Thursday before clearing up Friday.
According to the Maricopa County Flood Control District, rainfall around Lake Pleasant Regional Park was between 0.91 and 1.06 inches prior to 10 a.m. The area of Loop 303 and Northern Avenue saw about 1.18 inches by 10 a.m. Rainfall was as low as 0.20 inches in Sun City West.
Larry Hopper, senior meteorologist at the NWS, said Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport has seen as much rain over the last two days (0.57 inches) than it did during monsoon season (0.66 inches).
Officials are calling this week’s rain in the Valley very unusual for November, as Tropical Storm Raymond in the Pacific Ocean has brought about a series of upper level disturbances in the atmosphere.
Several cities posted road closures due to flooding, to include in Buckeye, Goodyear, Phoenix, Scottsdale and Surprise.
Buckeye, Mesa and Surprise were among the cities providing sandbags to residents. The Arizona Fire & Medical Authority also had sandbags available at stations in Sun City West, Sun Lakes, Tonopah and Wittmann.
According to the Salt River Project, areas of Glendale and west Phoenix endured power outages throughout the morning. The Glendale Elementary School District reported outages at Bicentennial South, William C. Jack Elementary and Don Mensendick schools. Officials suspended classes at those schools, allowing parents to pick up children at any time or wait until the schools let out on early release day.
The Recreation Centers of Sun City West canceled its Talent Spotlight at the Kuentz Center due to the weather. The next spotlight is Wednesday, Dec. 4.
Hundreds of customers were without power out west along Citrus Road between Bethany Home and Indian School roads, according to Arizona Public Service’s outage map. APS in the afternoon reported an outage for over 2,000 customers in Glendale as well.
In Sun City, traffic lights at the intersection of 99th Avenue and Thunderbird Road were flashing red through Wednesday morning. Anyone who comes upon flashing red at an intersection should treat it like a stop sign and yield to opposing lanes of traffic.
During a rainy Tuesday night, traffic lights at the intersection of Dysart and Waddell roads were all red except for one green light, according to a passer-by who posted about the incident on Facebook. El Mirage police were contacted about the collision but have not heard back yet.
The Phoenix Fire Department spent Tuesday night and Wednesday morning responding to several fires under the rain. Officials said firefighters pulled a woman and her dog from a burning home near 39th Avenue and Cactus Road on Wednesday morning. Both were pronounced dead at the scene.
Up in the air, weather did not appear to be a major reason for delays out of Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. Regionally, however, Las Vegas McCarran International and Los Angeles International airports saw various delays due to weather, according to a Federal Aviation Administration map.
A Sky Harbor official said the airport did have delays not weather-related, but many were within 20 minutes of departure/arrival.
“Most importantly, we always recommend travelers confirm their flight status with their airlines before coming to the airport to catch their flight,” said Gregory Roybal, a spokesman for Sky Harbor. “That way, they don’t find out too late if their flight is delayed or canceled. That’s also important for people who are picking up or dropping off loved ones.
The Maricopa County Parks and Recreation Department advised potential visitors to be considerate with their trail use during the rain as extremely muddy trails are susceptible to damage.
“We love rain and all of the wonderful things it does for our regional park system,” the agency stated. “However, sometimes, you can have too much of a good thing. Over the past 24-hours, our trails have received more rain than they can handle...”
The agency only had to close the Cottonwood Day Use Area at Lake Pleasant, according to Dawna Taylor, a spokeswoman for the county agency. She added that the department usually doesn’t close entire parks unless running washes or hazardous conditions are present. If anything, they will close certain areas of the parks as needed.
Ms. Taylor said the combination of activities, like mountain biking, horse riding and trail running, mixed with very moist trails can lead to divots in the ground, creating a potential hazard for others coming through.
“We don’t tell them to stay off the trails but to use their better judgment," Ms. Taylor said.
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