Hana DeMent and Daisy Finch

Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2018

Rosa’s record rains: Arizona gets drenched as tropical depression barrels through

PHOENIX – Remnants of Hurricane Rosa drenched most of Arizona on Tuesday, dumping more than 2 inches of rain on the Phoenix area in 48 hours, snarling traffic during the morning commute, closing several schools and spurring calls from people with water in their homes.

A flash-flood watch for much of Arizona remains in effect through Wednesday morning, with more rain expected to fall overnight, according to the National Weather Service. A flash-flood warning was in effect for urban areas of Maricopa County.

Public safety officials warned motorists to slow down and avoid driving through water that could be deceptively deep and dangerously swift.

The Arizona Department of Public Safety tweeted that they responded to more than 80 collisions in the Phoenix area from 5 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday, stating that many of the crashes could have been avoided.

By mid-afternoon, Phoenix rainfall totals were high enough for the National Weather Service to declare the day the second wettest October day and ninth wettest day on record. At Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, 2.63 inches of rain fell from Sunday afternoon to Tuesday afternoon.

Safety concerns close schools

Desert Horizon Elementary School at 85th Avenue and Osborn Road in Phoenix was closed Tuesday because many students walk to school, officials said. (Photo by Celisse Jones/Cronkite News)

Maricopa County Community Colleges called off classes at noon, and several elementary schools didn’t open at all on Tuesday.

Nedda Shafir, a spokeswoman for the Pendergast Elementary School District, said Desert Horizons Elementary was closed because many students walk to school.

“The streets were flooded and the sidewalks were flooded. For the safety of the students, the staff and parents, we made the decision very early on” to stay closed for the day, she said.

Damage to the school was minimal, she said, confined to a “few roof leaks” that were being repaired.

Rio Vista Elementary in Avondale also was closed because of power and phone outages.

As roads flooded, businesses also were affected.

More water, more headaches for car dealer

The lot of Taylor Auto Sales floods whenever it rains, damaging inventory and discouraging customers from coming in. (Photo by Celisse Jones/Cronkite News)

“Customers aren’t coming in because of all the water,” said Sergio Madrid, a salesman at Taylor Auto Sales near McDowell Road and 19th Avenue in Phoenix. He said the intersection often floods during heavy rains, submerging his lot and leaving some vehicles in water up to their door sills.

“Every vehicle that was in the water, we need to basically get the brake pads and everything again, so it costs money,” Madrid said. “We are wasting more money instead of lowering our costs.”

The dealership planned to bring in pumps to remove the water.

Water enters Scottsdale home

The storm also was a problem for Sam Alagha and his wife, who live in Scottsdale.

After the kids left for school, they noticed a large puddle of water in their backyard. Their basement is directly below.

“She could hear water dripping in a couple of the rooms, so we realized we had a situation,” Alagha said.

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Water penetrated the basement walls and dripped through a ceiling light fixture onto the floor.

Doug Bowers, manager of 1800 Flooded, a restoration company, assessed the damage with his team. He deployed teams to homes throughout the Valley on Tuesday, answering call after call.

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