updated 9/7/2006 3:27:54 PM ET 2006-09-07T19:27:54

Heavy rains pounded Tucson and eastern Pima County Thursday morning, causing one death, prompting flash flood warnings, flooding numerous streets and washes and snarling traffic.

Authorities reported that the body of a man washed up along the running Santa Cruz River on the city's northwest side, 10 miles from where a swiftwater rescue was launched two hours earlier.

Tucson Fire Capt. Paul McDonough said witnesses reported seeing a fully clothed man in the Rodeo Wash on Tucson's south side about 6:30 a.m., initially standing but then being swept off his feet. The witnesses said he hit his head on a concrete embankment, began floating face down and then disappeared.

McDonough said some 60 rescuers from five agencies, including a Department of Public Safety helicopter, searched for two hours before the body of an unidentified man was found on a sandbar downstream in the Santa Cruz. The body had sustained multiple traumatic injuries, and the force of the water had removed his clothing, McDonough said.

"This is a somber reminder that even a pedestrian needs to stay away from washes during the rainy season," McDonough said, "at least 100 feet or 10 car-lengths from a bank, because the water can erode the side and you can easily become a victim."

McDonough added that hazards abound in fast-moving water. "Boulders become wrecking balls; trees, there are way too many hazards," and even a strong swimmer is at the mercy of a running wash.

The death was the first fatality of roughly a dozen swift-water rescues this year, McDonough said.

The National Weather Service reported a record 1.14 inches of rain at the Tucson International Airport. Rain pummeled most of eastern Pima and Pinal counties, Santa Cruz County and portions of Cochise County, a spokesman said. Elsewhere, up to 2 inches of rain fell in the metropolitan area before 7 a.m.

Tucson police, the Pima County Sheriff's Department and Arizona Department of Public Safety all reported numerous collisions and vehicles mired in flooded washes.

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