Cars became stuck in the mud in Mesa, debris washed through the roadway in north Scottsdale and flooding slowed traffic on freeways as rain pelted the Valley Friday during what experts called a record-breaking storm.
By early morning Saturday, parts of the East Valley had received up to an inch and a half of rain and north Scottsdale residents saw as much as two inches or more.
“This storm, of course, is bigger than what we’re used to here, in terms of moisture and rainfall,” said Jaret Rogers, meteorologist at the National Weather Service.
The storm was the wettest system to move into the area at this time of year since 1995, officials said. It also was the most rain to hit the Valley on Nov. 30 since 1933.
A flash-flood warning was in effect Friday afternoon and was scheduled to end at 5 a.m. today, although there were no reports of flash floods in the East Valley late Friday.
But the steady, soaking storm still managed to force the closure of some Scottsdale roads and storm water overtook some sections of Scottsdale and Pima roads north of Thompson Peak Parkway. Police were dispatched to the area to set up barricades at many rain-swelled crossings known to strand motorists in heavy downpours.
“When the washes flow, a couple things happen,” said Scottsdale police Sgt. Mark Clark. “The debris gets into the roadway and (the water) could wash the roadway away.”
Mesa police had to close Signal Butte Road between Elliot and Broadway roads because three vehicles were stuck in mud.
Weather experts said the storm resulted from a large amount of moisture settled over the Pacific ocean to the southwest of Arizona.
“There’s warmer waters down there and it really pumped up a lot of moisture,” Rogers said. “It produced a lot of rainfall and steady rainfall.”
And that, rainfall meteorologists said, will continue into today with scattered showers and possible thunderstorms north and east of Phoenix. However, the storm still has potential for heavy rain.
The chance of rain Saturday night during the Arizona State University football game against the University of Arizona is about 20 percent, the weather service said. Kickoff is about 6 p.m. at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe.
Expect mostly sunny skies to return on Sunday as drier air moves into the region and that trend will likely continue throughout the week.