Woman dies in submerged car in record Arizona rain, widespread floods

Record-breaking rainfall deluged parts of Arizona on Monday, prompting Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer to declare a state of emergency as floodwaters led to one death, turned portions of a Phoenix interstate into a deep canal and forced the closure of dozens of schools and the House of Representatives.

In Tucson, a woman was killed after she was trapped inside a vehicle submerged in at least 15 feet of water in a wash, Tucson Fire Department Capt. Barrett Baker said.

“The water was flowing tremendously fast,” he said.

The National Weather Service said Phoenix had set a record for the most rainfall in a single day with about 3 inches as of 7 a.m., breaking the old record of 2.91 inches set in 1933.


Monday’s rainfall alone totaled more than the Phoenix area receives during a typical, three-month monsoon season of 2.71 inches, according to National Weather Service reports.

A flash flood watch was in effect for much of central Arizona, including the greater Phoenix area until 5 p.m. Monday.

Arizona Department of Transportation officials urged residents to delay their commute and Brewer ordered nonessential state employees to stay home

“Every low spot on a road is a potential problem. Be safe, please,” the Arizona Department of Transportation tweeted Monday morning.


The most dramatic scene came from Interstate 10, in western Phoenix where flooding turned a major freeway into a murky pool of drowned vehicles.

Also, Brewer sent a disaster declaration request early Monday to the U.S. Small Business Administration, asking the federal agency to assist residents and businesses in Maricopa County in their recovery from last month’s flash floods, which affected more than 350 homes.

Twitter: @theCindyCarcamo