'It doesn't look like moisture is going anywhere': Monsoon is at its peak this month

·3 min read

Storms have swept across the state this summer, bringing flash flooding, power outages, traffic, and lost homes for Arizonans.

More of it is expected to come this weekend into next week, the National Weather Service in Phoenix said.

Weekend weather: Rain to continue for Phoenix this weekend; closures in both directions on SR 143

In early March, the weather service had predicted a very wet and active monsoon season this summer. That weather pattern is expected to reach its peak this month, said Bianca Feldkircher, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Phoenix.

"Of course, it's August, which is usually the time we peak in the monsoon, so it doesn't look like moisture is really going anywhere," Feldkircher said.

As we get into the middle of the month, Arizonans can expect below-normal temperatures and heavy rain to remain an active pattern. Daily thunderstorm chances and high humidity are forecast for Sunday into next week, the weather service said.

Residents can anticipate more widespread heavy rainfall, strong winds and localized flooding for the next several days. Flood watches are also expected to remain in place for Yuma and Flagstaff through the weekend, Fledkircher said.

Severe thunderstorms, blowing dust, and flash flooding on Friday evening caused havoc in cities including Phoenix, Scottsdale and Tucson.

David Folio, a spokesperson for Scottsdale Fire Department, said between 4 and 10:30 p.m. Friday, Scottsdale Fire Technical Rescue responded to at least five storm-related rescues.

Feldkircher said although Saturday will likely have somewhat quieter weather, similar conditions were expected for Sunday.

"It looks like we'll have a pick up in activity again, very comparable to what we saw (on Friday)," she said.

Feldkircher said weather hazards can mostly affect drivers, and she advised residents to navigate roads cautiously.

Monsoon rescue: Crews aid trapped woman after flash flood in Scottsdale

"Anyone that's driving, especially in the afternoon and evening, should be aware of the weather," she said. "If you're planning on making any type of commute just make sure that you're aware of thunderstorm chances and travel delays because it could really cause havoc."

Flooding caused road closures on Saturday afternoon, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation.

U.S. 89 was closed north of Flagstaff because of water on the road. While southbound lanes have reopened, northbound will remain closed at milepost 246 for an unknown period of time, ADOT said.

Folio cautioned people not to attempt to cross flooded roadways.

"Stay inside your vehicle and call 911," he said. "If you see downed power lines, stay away and always treat power lines as if they are energized."

As of Saturday, Scottsdale reported damages and closures throughout the city.

Cactus Park and Aquatic Center will be closed "at least through Monday," a city statement said. Crews will be working to restore power and clean up storm debris.

The trail at Pinnacle Peak Park is open from the trailhead to the Owl's Rest Overlook but will be closed beyond that for several days while crews repair hazardous areas, Scottsdale said.

In addition, Friday's storm "substantially impacted" WestWorld in Scottsdale, knocking down a fence and eroding the hillside along the main entrance road.

"The Scottsdale Police Mounted Unit barn located at WestWorld flooded — the police horses were moved to safety during the storm," the statement said. "The large event tent at WestWorld suffered a few tears and minor damage."

There are no major road restrictions, but smaller streets may be closed or restricted due to storm runoff or debris.

Reach breaking news reporter Laura Daniella Sepulveda at lsepulveda@lavozarizona.com or on Twitter @lauradNews.

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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Arizona monsoon season to peak during August; rain and flood continue