Storm Around Phoenix Causing Power Outages, Traffic Nightmares

Welcome to Phoenix, where a few inches of rain have pretty much turned the city into Atlantis.

Rainfall records are on pace to be broken, schools have canceled classes, power outages are being reported, and cars are floating in the middle of the interstate.

According to the National Weather Service, this is one of the wettest days ever recorded in Phoenix. As of 7 a.m., 2.83 inches of rain had been recorded at Sky Harbor airport. The one-day record is 2.91 inches, set in 1939.

APS is reporting that 10,000 people are without power.

Between crashes and flooding, it's going to be hard to get anywhere around Phoenix today.

The Arizona Department of Transportation is reporting flooding on U.S. 60 in both directions at State Route 87, a crash has been reported on Loop 202 at Scottsdale Road affecting traffic in both directions, and there are cars underwater on Interstate 10 around 43rd Avenue.

The latest Phoenix street closures can be found on the Street Transportation Department's Twitter feed, and on Twitter feeds of transportation departments in other cities.

It's chaos out there.

UPDATE 7:49 a.m.: The National Weather Service says 2.96 inches of rain have been recorded at Sky Harbor, breaking the all-time record.

UPDATE 7:54 a.m.: Bus routes are also affected. Again, the latest updates are being posted on Twitter.

UPDATE 8:16 a.m.: There are now 5,000 APS customers without power.

UPDATE 8:19 a.m.: There are also 10,700 SRP customers without power. The utility earlier reported 12,000 people without power.

UPDATE 8:23 a.m.: The rain will eventually end, according to the National Weather Service.

UPDATE 8:50 a.m.: Google Maps keeps live updates of traffic conditions.

UPDATE 8:54 a.m.: Governor Jan Brewer has declared a statewide emergency due to severe flooding.

UPDATE 9:14 a.m.: Arizona State University is not canceling classes. "Students, faculty and staff should be cautious in driving to their campus and should not put themselves in any danger," a statement from the university says. "If tests, exams, or assignments are due today and students miss them, accommodations will be made to give them a chance to make up the work."

UPDATE 10:33 a.m.: APS is down to 257 customers without power, while SRP still has 4,000 customers without power.

UPDATE 10:35 a.m.: From the National Weather Service: "Rain lessening over the Valley, but water will linger for a long time!"

UPDATE 10:43 a.m.: The airport's almost back to normal operation.

UPDATE 11:04 a.m.: Our colleague Ray Stern found some Mesa High School students enjoying a flooded basin.

UPDATE 11:16 a.m.: Here are more photos from Ray Stern, taken near U.S. 60 and Val Vista Drive.

UPDATE 11:20 p.m.: From earlier this morning, here's a flood basin in Chandler overflowing into the street, near Ray Road and Dobson Road.

UPDATE 11:22 a.m.: Here's a video from the City of Scottsdale showing flooding of the Indian Bend Wash, near Indian School Road and Hayden Road.

UPDATE 11:30 a.m.: Interstate 10 west of Phoenix remains closed, but the water has been drained from the highway. As you can see in the photo below, people are still working to clear off the cars that got stuck in the flood waters this morning.

UPDATE 11:32 a.m.: Phoenix police say an elderly couple is missing. From Phoenix Police Officer James Holmes:

Paul and Cora Armijo left their home in the area of South 40th Avenue and Southern Avenue at approximately 6:40 P.M. on September 7th, 2014 in order to pick up a family member from the Arizona Mills Mall in Tempe. The couple never couple arrived at the mall and their current whereabouts are unknown. Both may be experiencing cognitive and memory issues. The family is very concerned as is the Phoenix Police Department, especially considering the heavy rains from overnight, and we are asking the public's assistance in finding Paul and Cora.


UPDATE 11:54 a.m.: Phoenix Assistant Fire Chief Kevin Kalkbrenner says the fire department got 1,300 calls from 3 a.m. to 9 a.m. today, while police got 3,491 calls from midnight to 10:30 a.m. Those calls include 14 water rescues. There have been no deaths or injuries reported so far.

UPDATE 12:06 p.m.: At a press conference, Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton urged people not to play around in the flood waters. "Please, please, please keep yourselves and your children out of the water," he said. "This is not a fun time, this is not play time."

UPDATE 12:28 p.m.: Below is a map of the rainfall totals from the last 24 hours, from the Maricopa County Flood Control District. The meter at Chandler Boulevard and Alma School Road in Chandler recorded the high score, at more than 5 1/2 inches of rain.

UPDATE 12:50 p.m.: Here's a statement from the Arizona Department of Public Safety describing what happened this morning on Interstate 10:

At 5:00 a.m. DPS received numerous 911 calls reporting standing water at depths that covered some vehicles up to the roof line, along both directions of travel on I-10 between 35th and 51st Avenues. On arrival DPS notified ADOT and requested a closure of I-10. ADOT and DPS directed traffic off of I-10. 12 to 20 vehicles were partially or completely submerged. Many of the motorists managed to get out of their vehicles and walked to higher ground along the embankments. Others called 911 and stayed in their vehicles until DPS officers arrived and transported them to higher ground. I-10 in the area remains closed due to a thick coat of mud on the roadway; it is estimated that clean up crews will have the roadway cleared by 3:00 p.m.

The statement also mentions a fatal collision between two cars on the Loop 101 in Glendale around 5 a.m.

UPDATE 2:09 p.m.: Everything is going according to plan for tonight's Arizona Cardinals game in Glendale, except for parking. Below are the details sent out by the team.

UPDATE 2:38 p.m.: I-10 west has re-opened, but eastbound lanes remain closed for now.

UPDATE 3:34 p.m.: New Times reporter Ray Stern explored how people were reacting to the storm in Mesa. Click here to read his story.

UPDATE 3:40 p.m.: The Mesa Fire Department is reporting evacuations of residents near the Keller Elementary School due to flooding and the threat of electrical arcing. As many as 100 homes may be affected.

UPDATE 4:28 p.m.: The elderly couple that had been reported missing has been found unharmed.

UPDATE September 9, 6:06 a.m.: The major stretches of highways are all operating, and SRP is still reporting a couple of power outages related to yesterday's storm. For information on what else is being done to counter flooding, click here to read our latest story.

Got a tip? Send it to: Matthew Hendley.

Follow Valley Fever on Twitter at @ValleyFeverPHX. Follow Matthew Hendley at @MatthewHendley.

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