Keep voting for Republicans, keep expecting "200-year flood events" like this, Arizonians! Wouldn't it have been great if we could have actually tried to prevent this instead of making fun of Al Gore?
PHOENIX -- Heavy storms pounded the Phoenix area early Monday, flooding major freeways and small roads, leading to several water rescues and breaking an 81-year-old rainfall record before dawn.
Eric Fisher, chief meteorologist of CBS Boston station WBZ-TV, says "this is turning into a 1 in 200-year flood event in the Phoenix metro area."
Fisher says the heavy rains are being fueled by a big influx of monsoon moisture, aided by Tropical Storm Norbert drifting up the coastline. The levels of moisture in the atmosphere were also at record levels Monday.
The National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning for most of the Phoenix area and its outskirts through late Monday morning because of heavy thunderstorms and rain. Flash flood watches cover most of the rest of Arizona.
Sections of the major commuter freeways Interstate 10 and 17 in west Phoenix were closed in the run up to rush hour.Television video of I-10 showed at least a half-dozen vehicles sitting in water up to their hoods, while dozens of other motorists parked part way up on the freeway's side embankment to stay clear of the water.
Jim Sampson said a wave from a passing vehicle passed over his sedan, causing it to stall, CBS affiliate KPHO reported. A pregnant woman who said she feared for her life had to be rescued from her car by strangers in the same area, the station reported.
The state Department of Public Safety asked drivers to postpone their commute. Freeways at several underpasses resembled small lakes as the Arizona Department of Transportation said its pumping stations couldn't keep up with the downfall.
Part of a grocery store's roof collapsed in Tempe because of the rain, but none of the people inside was injured, police Lt. Mike Pooley said.
In central Phoenix, Sky Harbor International Airport received over 2.55 inches of rain since midnight, breaking the old record of 1.33 inches on the same date in 1933. More than 2 inches of rain fell after 4 a.m., just as the morning commute was beginning.