PHOENIX (Reuters) - Heavy rains flooded the Phoenix area on Tuesday, closing part of an interstate highway for nearly an hour, shutting local roadways, and prompting authorities to pluck people from their cars in inundated areas.
A trailer park with about 15 residents was evacuated in Black Canyon City, 50 miles north of Phoenix, authorities said, and a shelter was set up at a local school for evacuees.
Rain began pounding Phoenix and some other areas on Tuesday, snarling traffic. More than four inches fell in the community of New River, north of the city.
“The storms took us by surprise,” said Bart Graves, a spokesman for the state Department of Public Safety. “This is a very unusual event for us. We don’t see something like this very often.”
Graves said flooding caused by the heavy rains spilled onto a portion of Interstate 17 north of Phoenix, forcing officials to shut the highway for almost an hour.
Falling rocks and debris caused several collisions on another stretch of the highway, he said. There were no injuries.
Fire officials reported making at least six rescues of people trapped in rain-swollen washes and streets.
The bad weather caused arrival and departures delays of up to two hours at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport as of early Tuesday afternoon, said an airport spokeswoman. Several flights into Phoenix were diverted to other airports, she said.
Reporting by David Schwartz; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Mohammad Zargham