Arizona braces for possible repeat of powerful storms

Reuters News
Posted: Sep 16, 2014 2:32 PM

By David Schwartz

PHOENIX (Reuters) - Arizona residents braced for another wave of heavy rains and flooding on Tuesday as the remnants of Hurricane Odile began to sweep into the desert state.

With cloudy skies above, locals began filling sandbags at fire stations and trying to shore up their homes, just eight days after powerful storms battered the southwestern state and dumped record rainfall on the Phoenix and Tucson areas.

Last week's downpour turned sections of major freeways into lakes, overflowed from creeks and canals and killed two women swept away by floodwaters. A state of emergency was declared by Governor Jan Brewer.

"We're not going to say that it's going to be as bad as it was eight days ago but the possibility is there," said Ken Waters, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Phoenix. "I definitely wouldn't rule it out."

Odile, now a tropical storm, ground its way up Mexico's Baja California peninsula on Monday, gradually losing strength after forcing the evacuation of thousands of people.

Waters said traces of the storm moved into southern Arizona late on Monday and have generated shower activity that was expected to become stronger on Wednesday.

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Southern and southeastern parts of the state were expected to feel the heaviest blow from the storms.

"The Tucson area is really going to be under the gun. A heavy rain event is not out of the question there," Waters said.

He said the storm also could affect parts of New Mexico and far western Texas before losing its strength.

(Reporting by David Schwartz; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Bill Trott)