Flash Flood Watch, Flood Advisory and Severe Thunderstorm Warning Issued in Arizona Following Tornado Alert

A flash flood warning, flood watch, flood advisory and severe thunderstorm warning have been issued across parts of Arizona, including in Phoenix and Tuscon, following a tornado warning that was in place until early Friday morning.

A cold front swept across the Metro Phoenix area, bringing very heavy rain and strong winds. The East Valley was forecast to face the strongest winds Friday, the National Weather Service (NWS) Phoenix confirmed on its official Twitter account.

A tornado warning was in place for parts of Phoenix and Tuscon region, including Maricopa County as well as Mesa, Chandler, Scottsdale, Wickenburg and Wittmann, which was in effect until about 6:15 a.m.

"Radar indicated the presence of a small tornado embedded within the line of intense showers. But, there is a much broader area of strong straight line winds sweeping across the far East Valley now," the NWS said in a post on Twitter earlier Friday morning.

Maricopa County is now under a Flood Advisory until 10:15 a.m., which indicates "river or stream flows are elevated, or ponding of water in urban or other areas is occurring or is imminent," the NWS explains.

Areas expected to see flooding include Phoenix, Mesa, Chandler, Glendale, Scottsdale, Gilbert, Tempe, Casa Grande, El Mirage, Fountain Hills, Paradise Valley, Tolleson, Youngtown, Laveen and East Mesa.

The NWS has also issued a Flash Flood Warning for Gila County in east central Arizona and Pinal County in southeastern Arizona, which is in effect until 11:15 a.m. (local time). A Flash Flood Warning means that flooding is imminent or occurring. If you are in the warned area move to higher ground immediately, according to the NWS.

The NWS Phoenix stated on Friday morning: "Up to one inch of rain has already fallen [by around 7 a.m. local time]. Flash flooding is ongoing or expected to begin shortly," while the "flooding of small creeks and streams, urban areas, highways, streets and underpasses as well as other drainage and low lying areas," is also expected.

Areas expected to experience flooding include the Superior, Gold Canyon, Florence Junction, Queen Valley, Boyce Thompson Arboretum, Top-Of-The-World and Gold Camp, as well as the US Highway 60 between mile markers 202 and 240, AZ Route 79 between mile markers 140 and 150 and the AZ Route 177 between mile markers 159 and 167.

At 7:20 am MST, a line of strong to severe storms was moving east across eastern Pinal and Pima counties. Wind gusts to 60 mph will be possible. Heavy rain was also occurring along this line. #azwx pic.twitter.com/tm6i85b563

— NWS Tucson (@NWSTucson) November 29, 2019

A Flash Flood Watch continues through Friday afternoon for parts of south central Arizona, including the following areas:

  • Aguila Valley,
  • Apache Junction/Gold Canyon
  • Buckeye/Avondale
  • Cave Creek/New River
  • Central Phoenix
  • Deer Valley,
  • Dripping Springs
  • Fountain Hills/East Mesa
  • Gila Bend
  • Globe/Miami
  • New River Mesa
  • North Phoenix/Glendale
  • Northwest Pinal County
  • Rio Verde/Salt River
  • San Carlos
  • Scottsdale/Paradise Valley
  • Sonoran Desert National Monument
  • South Mountain/Ahwatukee
  • Southeast Valley/Queen Creek Superior
  • The East Valley of the Phoenix Metro Area
  • The Northwest Valley of the Phoenix Metro Area
  • Tonopah Desert, Tonto Basin
  • West Pinal County

"A Flash Flood Watch means that flooding of washes, creeks and other drainage areas is possible within the watch area. If you are in the watch area, you should watch the weather and be prepared to take immediate action should heavy rain and flooding occur or a flash flood warning be issued.

Showers to continue for the next couple of hours before coverage starts to decrease later this morning. Roads are very wet, so take your time getting to your #blackfriday destination. #azwx pic.twitter.com/icjrq17TGQ

— NWS Phoenix (@NWSPhoenix) November 29, 2019

"Widespread showers and isolated thunderstorms will produce moderate to heavy rainfall. Flash flooding will be possible, especially in areas that recently received significant rainfall. Flooding of washes and creeks will be possible. Low-water crossings may become impassable in vulnerable locations, especially in rural areas," the NWS said.

A Severe Thunderstorm Warning has been issued until 8:15 a.m. for parts of Tuscon, including east central Pima County in southeastern Arizona, northwestern Cochise County in southeastern Arizona and northeastern Santa Cruz County in southeastern Arizona, NWS Tuscon announced.

Areas to be affected include Benson, Whetstone, St. David, Tombstone, Sonoita, Dragoon, Elgin, Kartchner Caverns State Park, Saguaro National Park East, Mescal, Texas Canyon, Muleshoe Ranch Preserve, Fairbank and Cascabel, with wind gusts of 60 miles per hour and damage to trees, siding and trees expected, NWS Tuscon warns.

The Phoenix Police Department also reported: "Multiple restrictions and closures in #Phxtraffic due to the heavy rain: 67th ave/New River, Norterra/Dove Valley just south, Greenway/7th Ave just south, Cave Creek/Tbird just north, Canterbury/Tbird. #DriveSafe #rain," in a post on its official Twitter account.

"Southbound lanes are restricted at 7th St and Union Hills due to trees in roadway. #phxtraffic," it added.

Commuters in affected areas are advised to: "Turn around, don't drown when encountering flooded roads. Most flood deaths occur in vehicles. In hilly terrain there are hundreds of low water crossings which are potentially dangerous in heavy rain. Do not attempt to cross flooded roads. Find an alternate route.

"Residents living along streams and creeks should take immediate precautions to protect life and property," the NWS warned.

Black Canyon Arizona flooding 2004
Residents watch the usually dry Agua Fria River flood downtown Black Canyon City, Arizona, 50 miles north of Phoenix back in December 2004. Getty Images