Desert deluge: Storm was 2nd wettest for any Nov. ever
A buffalo takes refuge from the wet weather on top of a trailer belonging to Collin "TC" Thorstenson and his buffalo Harvey Wallbanger Jr. in Cave Creek. (Source: CBS 5 News)
A car is stuck on a flooded stretch of road near Loop 303 and Glendale Avenue. (Source: CBS 5 News)
A bicyclist negotiates wet roads in the East Valley early Friday morning. (Source: CBS 5 News)
Rain affected traffic even before the morning rush hour began. (Source: CBS 5 News)
PHOENIX (CBS5) -
A strong weather front originating off the Southern California coast brought Phoenix its second wettest storm for the month of November ever.
Over the three-day period from Wednesday evening through Saturday, 2.42 inches of rain was recorded at Phoenix Sky Harbor airport.
To emphasize how uncommon this storm system has been, Phoenix has not seen a storm with this amount of rainfall since March 5-7, 2000, or more than 13 years ago.
The 1.60 inches of rain recorded at Phoenix Sky Harbor airport Friday was a record for the day, and the second most for any day ever in the month of November in Phoenix. This one day total was also the 22nd most ever for any day of the year in the recorded weather history for Phoenix (since 1895), the National Weather Service office in Phoenix said.
When all was said and done by Saturday night, almost the entire area received between 1.50 and 3.00 inches of rain. The rainfall occurred over a 48-hour period, so only the typical low-lying areas subject to minor flooding experienced problems with high water.
The Arizona Department of Transportation reported rock slides blocking several lanes on state highways early Friday morning according to an ADOT spokesman.
Flooding, downed power lines and hazardous driving conditions were reported throughout the Valley of the sun early Friday morning, posing challenges for motorists during the morning rush hour.
The southbound lanes of Loop 303 in the far West Valley was closed between Peoria Avenue and Camelback Road because of flooding at Glendale Avenue, the ADOT spokesman said.
ADOT reported rock slides on southbound State Route 87 about from just north of Rye to about five miles south of Payson, and northbound SR 87 just north of Houston Mesa Road.
The system was strong enough to drop more than 1.5 inches of rain by 5:15 in the far West Valley and sections of Ahwatukee, Tempe and Apache junction, according to the Flood Control District of Maricopa County.
Yuma reported a record 0.33 inches of rain Thursday, breaking a record for the date that stood nearly 130 years. Yuma recorded 0.23 inches in 1884 for the previous record.
In Tucson, firefighters on Friday recovered the body of a man who was swept away by high water in the Santa Cruz River.
Centered along the Southern California coast, the low pressure system tapped into a rich source of moist air, bringing a prolonged period of moderate to heavy rain, more than the Valley has seen in months, CBS 5 chief meteorologist Chris Dunn said.
A winter storm watch was in effect for the elevations above 7,500 feet of the White Mountains, where more than a foot of snow could fall by Sunday morning.
Arizona Snowbowl and Sunrise Park Resort, Arizona's two ski areas, could easily see as much as 20 inches of snow by the end of the weekend, CBS 5 meteorologist Kati Baker said.
National Weather Service forecasters have also issued a winter weather advisory for parts of northern Arizona. Snow was expected across the Kaibab Plateau.
The city of Maricopa's emergency operations center were on standby and will be monitoring the weather. In Prescott, city officials say road crews will be ready to plow snow and treat ice if necessary.
A weakening Pacific low pressure system will move east across Arizona Sunday giving a lingering chance for rain showers, mainly over south-central Arizona and rainfall amounts should be rather low.
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