Flash flood watches blanket much of Arizona

Flash flood watches have been issued for large areas of central, southern and northwestern Arizona, including metro Phoenix and Tucson as well as areas scarred by recent wildfires.

The watches issued by the National Weather Service generally were scheduled to take effect Tuesday afternoon and run through July 14.

In northern Arizona, the weather service’s Flagstaff office said showers and thunderstorms were expected to become more widespread and continue into Thursday.

"While a few isolated severe storms will be possible, our main concerns during this increase in moisture will be the potential for flash flooding," the office said.

RELATED: Cleanup underway after parts of Arizona pounded by 'ping pong ball' sized hail, thunderstorms

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Thousands lose power amid thunderstorms

Thousands of people were without power on Wednesday morning as thunderstorms rolled through the Valley.

According to the SRP outage map, thousands lost power in the West Valley near Tolleson, and in Scottsdale. Power was eventually restored.

Thousands of APS customers also lost power, according to the company's outage map. Multiple outages were reported in the Phoenix area.

Tucson, Flagstaff dealing with major flooding

The monsoon caused major flooding problems in Tucson and Flagstaff on Wednesday.

Coconino County Emergency Management officials issued a shelter-in-place order Wednesday afternoon in the wake of major flooding. Residents were warned to move to higher ground and, under no circumstances, enter floodwaters.

The National Weather Service issued flash flood warnings for Flagstaff, Doney Park and Winona through the late afternoon.

Video captured by an Arizona Daily Sun reporter showed a moving mass of debris that came flowing from Mount Elden toward several Flagstaff neighborhoods.

In another video, a Toyota Prius was seen being washed away by a swift rush of water in the area of the Upper Greenlaw Estates.

Wildfires that burned last year left several burn scars, making way for flash flooding to ravage wildlands and neighborhoods during monsoon season.

In Tucson, video by the Golder Ranch Fire District showed firefighters rescuing a man and his two daughters from the roof of their vehicle after it was swept away by floodwaters. Thankfully, no one was hurt.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


Road Conditions

  • Call 511 anywhere in Arizona or 1-888-411-ROAD (7623)
  • az511.com

Driving in extreme temperatures

The Arizona Department of Transportation’s tips for driving in extreme temperatures include: 

Have sun protection: In addition to an umbrella, take sunscreen and a wide-brimmed hat and wear loose-fitting, light-colored cotton clothing.

Fuel up: Keep your tank at three-quarters full. Running out of gas, especially in a remote location, is dangerous in extreme heat.

Hydrate: Take a cooler to keep extra drinking water cold, and consider adding several frozen bottles of water to use for cooling off or to thaw and drink if needed. Make sure everyone, including pets, stays hydrated.

Get help: If your vehicle breaks down in extreme heat, call for assistance right away to reduce wait time, and run the AC. If the AC isn’t working, roll down all windows.

Wait safely: If the temperature inside your vehicle becomes too hot, everyone, including pets, should exit carefully and seek out or create a shaded area as far away from the travel lanes as possible. Be careful walking on the road surface, which can be hot enough to burn skin. Keep your shoes on and try to keep your pets’ paws off the pavement. If you are stopped along the highway, raise the front hood and turn on hazard lights. Please keep in mind that parking in tall brush can start a fire. 

Check your vehicle: You can help avoid breakdowns and blowouts by making sure your vehicle is in good operating condition. Check your air conditioner and coolant levels, top off any vital engine fluids and make sure your battery is up to par. Check your tire pressure, as the combination of under-inflated tires and hot pavement can lead to a blowout.

MORE: https://azdot.gov/about/transportation-safety/severe-weather

Rain/flood safety tips

The American Red Cross' tips for heavy rain situations and flood safety:

  • Turnaround don’t drown! If you must drive and you encounter a flooded roadway, turn around and go another way.
  • If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising rapidly around you, get out of the car quickly and move to higher ground.
  • Tune in to your local radio, NOAA radio, or news channels for the latest updates.
  • If your neighborhood is prone to flooding, be prepared to evacuate quickly.
  • Follow evacuation orders and do not attempt to return until officials say it is safe.
  • If power lines are down, do not step in puddles or standing water.
  • If power is out, use a flashlight. Do not use any open flame as alternate lighting.

Preparing for a severe thunderstorm 

The American Red Cross' tips for preparing for a severe thunderstorm:

  • Put together an emergency kit.
  • Know your community’s evacuation plan.
  • Create a household disaster plan and practice it.
  • Purchase a battery-powered or hand-crank radio
  • Discuss thunderstorm safety with members of your household. Be aware that a thunderstorm could produce flooding.
  • Pick a safe place in your home for household members to gather during a thunderstorm. This should be a place where there are no windows, skylights, or glass doors, which could be broken by strong winds or hail and cause damage or injury.

Be prepared and stay safe during the monsoon

"Most Valley residents know how quickly and furiously storms can move in and out, bringing strong winds, dust, rain, and flash flooding. These storms can cause interruptions in services, such as water, power, and gas," stated Captain Ashley Losch of the Glendale Fire Department.

GFD reminds residents of ways they can be prepared and stay safe:

  • Have flashlights with extra batteries on hand.
  • Have food that can be prepared without the need for cooking or refrigeration.
  • Have at least one gallon of clean water for each person in the household.
  • Have backup power for anyone requiring power for a medical device.
  • Have backup power for cell phones that do not require charging.
  • Have a first aid kit ready and accessible.
  • Never drive into areas with flowing water; it takes less than 10 inches to wash a car away.
  • Avoid flooded areas, such as washes.
  • If waters are rising, seek higher ground.
  • Do not approach downed power lines, the ground can be energized for up to 200 feet.
  • Keep pets indoors during storms.