Phoenix beat a 75-year mark on Monday and slogged through its wettest day on record — a 3-inch downpour that flooded roads, stranded drivers, closed schools, knocked out power for thousands of people, and left at least two people dead. Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer declared a statewide emergency, and flood watches were in effect for parts of California, Nevada, Utah and Colorado as the remnants of Hurricane Norbert mixed with moisture already in the atmosphere.
A woman in Tucson died after she was trapped inside a car that had been swept away and submerged in at least 15 feet of water in a wash, city fire officials said in a release. And another woman died after she and her husband attempted to cross a flooded wash and she was swept away, the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office said in a release.
Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix reported 2.96 inches of rain before 8:30 a.m. local time, beating the old record of 2.91 inches on Sept. 4, 1939. Parts of Interstate 10 and Interstate 17 were closed with the morning rush hour just beginning. A state Department of Public Safety Officer used the roof of his SUV to transport three motorists who had been stranded on an inundated part of I-10, a spokesman said.
Schools closed for the day, police asked people to stay off the roads, and Brewer ordered non-essential state employees to stay home. At least 13,000 residences and businesses lost power.