Flooding From Record Rain in Phoenix Area Means Fun for Some, Problems for Others
Ashley Hall and Lauren Ramsay were among the Mesa High School students turning Monday's flood into a water-recreation opportunity.
Images: Ray Stern
Monday's record rainfall in the Phoenix area spurred officials to warn parents against letting their kids play in standing water.
But with many schools closed across the Valley 'cause of the historic deluge, what else is there to do?
At Harmony Park in Mesa near Val Vista Drive and the U.S 60 freeway, which experienced some of the Valley's worst flooding, a group of happy Mesa High School students exchanged textbooks for rowboats and spent the morning splashing around.
The park, just east of the Consolidated Canal and north of the U.S 60 freeway, also serves as a water-retention basin. Neighbors who came out to watch and photograph the teens said they've never seen anything like the lake that appeared suddenly this morning. It appeared to be several-feet deep in places.
Near the concrete-lined canal, a smaller, flood-control canal had blown out and water was still rushing into the basin at about 10 a.m. The area around the U.S. 60 and Val Vista was one of the worst-hit in the Valley for flooding, with excessive water blocking traffic earlier in the morning on the freeway. The freeway lanes were open when we showed up, but mini-lakes of water stood in various places in the neighborhood. New Times put in a call to the city of Mesa to find out why that area wasn't draining effectively; we'll update this post when we hear back.
Mesa High School students enjoy their "rain day."
Just east of Val Vista, homes and an apartment complex at 37th Street and Hampton Avenue had been hammered by flooding. One car was stuck in the middle of 37th Street. But New Times couldn't find any homeowners who reported serious damage to their property. We did, however, run into folks who were enjoying a break in the rain to get out and survey the scene.
"This is a lot of water!" gushed Glenn Talbott, standing on a corner in six inches of water with his dog, Loretta.
Homeowner Bob Bishop checks out the severe flooding on his Mesa street.
"This is the worst I've ever seen it," said another neighbor who's lived in the area for 25 years. He and other homeowners on 37th Street, which was completely covered by several inches of water for about a block, reported that the water hadn't quite risen enough to enter their homes.
Two children playing with their dog in the water on 37th Street told New Times their father had gone to work after cleaning up some flooding in their garage.
While children and teens made the best of the freak weather situation, some Valley residents and businesses were struggling with flooded vehicles or homes. The Fry's food store at McClintock Drive and Baseline Road was closed for the day after a roof caved in. Workers stepped through puddles in the stores on Monday morning as they carried various goods to dry locations.
More rain was expected on Monday afternoon, though not as much as in the morning.
UPDATE: 5 p.m. -- The floodwaters kept growing after we left the area. An hour ago, the Mesa Fire Department reported that transformers were under water in a retention basis, possibly the same one or near the one we visited, and that evacuations were being ordered.
Please visit the next page for more storm-aftermath photos:
Flooding on 37th Street in Mesa.
Glenn Talbott and Loretta.
A roof blow-out shut down the Fry's grocery store at McClintock Drive and Baseline Road in Tempe. Signs directed customers to try another location.
The Circle K near Val Vista Drive and the U.S. 60 freeway was one of the businesses hit by heavy flooding.
An East Mesa area near Val Vista Drive and the U.S 60 was among the hardest-hit areas by flooding.
Image: Sarah Case
Runoff spilled over the inflatable dam at Tempe Town Lake. Meanwhile, on the pedestrian bridge seen here, one of those white, sail-like structures had a partial collapse.
Got a tip? Send it to: Ray Stern.
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter Our daily newsletter delivers quick clicks to keep you in the know
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in Phoenix, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.