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Phoenix-Area Storm Damage Forces Some People Out of Their Homes

The storm that caused record rainfall around Phoenix yesterday caused enough damage to force some homeowners out of their houses.

There's no way of telling exactly how many people were displaced from their homes because of flooding, but Red Cross officials tell New Times that a dozen people sought shelter from the Red Cross last night.

See also: -Storm Around Phoenix Causes Power Outages, Traffic Nightmares -Flooding From Record Rain Means Fun for Some, Problems for Others

There were two people each at shelters in Mesa and Glendale and eight in Laveen.

This doesn't provide a complete picture of how many people were displaced, as a Red Cross shelter isn't the first option for most people, who would likely seek to stay with friends or family or in a hotel.

However, more people could still show up at a Red Cross shelter.

"It's still really unfolding," local Red Cross spokeswoman Trudy Thompson Rice says. "There are still areas of Mesa still underwater."

Indeed, in one area of Mesa -- near Stapley Drive and U.S. 60 -- flood basins have overflowed into a neighborhood, flooding about 125 houses, according to Mesa Fire Captain Forrest Smith.

This flooding in Mesa also swallowed up electrical transformers so the Salt River Project had shut off power to the area. Smith says there's still 10 to 20 feet of water in the basin, and the utility wants the water clear of the transformers before the power's turned back on. The estimate from SRP is that power will be back to the area by 5 p.m. SRP also is reporting two other power outages -- in Avondale and Chandler -- that have been ongoing since yesterday.

Firefighters and volunteers in Mesa are going door-to-door in that neighborhood to get a head count and to find out how many people have been displaced from their homes.

Nearby Keller Elementary School remains closed because of the standing water. Mesa Fire has set up a base in the neighborhood to try to clear the water from the streets and the basin, and to deal with other consequences of the flooding.

Meanwhile, in Phoenix, Mayor Greg Stanton yesterday acknowledged damage to several homes in South Phoenix. Some of these homes already had been damaged by a flood in mid-August.

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Matthew Hendley
Contact: Matthew Hendley