Published: Fri, October 05, 2018
Science | By Michele Flores

Rosa threatens 9 million people with flooding, even in the desert Southwest

Rosa threatens 9 million people with flooding, even in the desert Southwest

In southern Arizona, heavy rain Monday flooded streets in Yuma and caused power outages in parts of the city.

The weather service said a record 2.35 inches (5.97 centimeters) of rain had fallen at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport as of Tuesday night.

Several Valley schools are closed on Tuesday due to flooding from rain from remnants of Tropical Depression Rosa. It's expected to become a hurricane later Monday and a major hurricane by early Wednesday.

The wet weather was a factor in numerous Phoenix-area freeway wrecks but no serious crashes were reported, said Trooper Kameron Lee of the Arizona Department of Public Safety.

Around 10 vehicles, including a bus, were either at a standstill in the water or tried to drive through it.

The storm has maximum sustained winds of 40 mph, with tropical storm-force winds extending about 150 miles from its center.

Desert Horizon Elementary turned away its parents and students because of reports of flooding inside the school.

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Forecasters there stressed that "just because it's not raining where you are doesn't mean it won't flood".

A flash flood watch goes into effect Tuesday morning and will last throughout the evening for Weber and Davis counties, and the eastern portion of Box Elder County, the National Weather Service of Salt Lake City said.

Trooper Kameron Lee of the Arizona Department of Public Safety said rain "played a factor" in numerous auto accidents during the morning Phoenix commute, but there were no reports of serious crashes.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Rosa should move over Baja California and Sonora, weakening and bringing 3 to 6 inches (7.5 to 15 centimeters) of rain, with its remnants expected hitting the southwestern United States on Tuesday.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert mobilized about 200 National Guard soldiers Monday to prepare for potential flooding in areas where recent wildfires left burn scars that could increase runoff. But the National Weather Service warned that heavier rain was expected Tuesday afternoon. The Maricopa County Community College District closed classes and offices by late morning.

Rosa, a hurricane that was downgraded to a tropical storm and then to a tropical depression, reportedly killed one person in northwestern Mexico before moving north into the U.S.

It's forecast to bring 2 to 4 inches (5-10 centimeters) of rain to central and southern Arizona and 1 to 2 inches (2.5-5 centimeters) to the rest of the desert Southwest, Central Rockies and Great Basin. Yuma, Arizona, the USA's driest city with only about 3.6 inches of rainfall a year, could see almost that much in the next couple of days.

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