Heavy flooding forces Ariz. rescues, road closure

Associated Press Modified: August 1, 2012 at 6:17 pm •  Published: August 1, 2012

PHOENIX (AP) — Flood waters in the Phoenix area were receding Wednesday, a day after firefighters rescued a baby and several other people who were trapped in their vehicles.

A dust and monsoon storm late Tuesday carried pea-sized hail and forced the closure of a well-traveled highway, flooded homes, knocked out power to area residents and collapsed a backyard fence. Firefighters rescued nine people from four vehicles on a highway west of Interstate 17 near Phoenix.

Alexis Zuniga, who was among those rescued, said the flooding was immediate, building up at least a foot every five minutes.

"We had to hold on to the brake the entire time, and then we just waited for help," Zuniga told Phoenix television station KPNX (http://bit.ly/iHUSi ).

Drivers on that part of State Route 74 were rerouted Wednesday during morning rush-hour traffic onto an alternate east-west route that is used for trips to and from Las Vegas. The five-mile stretch of highway reopened Wednesday afternoon when storm runoff subsided.

Phoenix Fire Capt. Scott McDonald said it took an hour to rescue the people from their vehicles Tuesday amid the fast-moving water that rose to 4 feet at one point, the Arizona Republic (http://bit.ly/NlKwNl ) reported.

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