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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Extreme weather causes canceled classes

%09Students+on+the+UA+campus+fight+the+monsoon+storm+outside+of+the+Park+Student+Union+on+Monday.+Streets+throughout+campus+quickly+flooded.
Savannah Douglas

Students on the UA campus fight the monsoon storm outside of the Park Student Union on Monday. Streets throughout campus quickly flooded.

Historic statewide rain caused severe flooding in Phoenix and forced the University of Arizona College of Medicine — Phoenix to cancel classes for the day on Monday morning.

Allison Otu, director of outreach and communications for the College of Medicine — Phoenix, said the decision to close the campus was reached early this morning.

“The notice that we did receive said that the students were excused from class and faculty and students were excused from work,” Otu said. “We were concerned with faculty and staff getting downtown.”

Otu explained that the campus itself had suffered no damage from the rain and that about half of the staff actually made it into work and carried on with a “business as usual” attitude.

On the College of Medicine — Phoenix’s website, Dr. Stuart Flynn, the college’s dean, posted a message reiterating that the staff will be working to accommodate those who had traveled from afar to be at the medical school.

Otu said she believes that the classes would be made up at some point.

Prior to this, Gov. Jan Brewer announced a statewide emergency on social media outlets, posting on Twitter, “I am declaring a statewide emergency for areas impacted by today’s severe rainfall and flooding. #TurnAroundDontDrown #azwx.”

Media outlets proceeded to utilize the #TurnAroundDontDrown hashtag as they posted pictures of flooding throughout the state. The hashtag rang particularly true as the Tucson Fire Department reported finding a vehicle containing a body in the Alamo Wash near Kolb Road.

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton later announced via Twitter, “In response to storms and flooding, I have declared a state of emergency in #Phoenix and activated the city’s Emergency Operations Ctr.”

Both cities saw record-breaking rain, according to the National Weather Service. Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport reported 3.29 inches, beating its previous record of 2.91 inches from 1933. Tucson International Airport broke its previous record of 0.94 inches from 1919 with 1.87 inches.

Kevin Jeanes, chief meteorologist for KOLD and KMSB, said that the amount of rain people got in Tucson depended on where they lived.

He said that typically, around Oro Valley, Ariz., rainfall was anywhere from 3-4 inches. Midtown experienced a range of 2-3 inches while the southside got around 1-2 inches of rain.

Jeanes said that it was unusual to get this much rain this late into monsoon season, but it was not entirely unprecedented as Tucson has experienced this amount of rain this late several times over the past century.

The rain was made possible this year by the presence of Tropical Storm Norbert.

Jeanes said that it would be difficult but not impossible to have another storm like this during monsoon season. Without the presence of another tropical storm like Norbert, it is unlikely, he said.

Both Phoenix and Tucson experienced electrical outages across each city and saw road closures throughout Tucson.

Firefighters across Tucson and Phoenix were out in full force rescuing stranded motorists, such as the incident at Alamo Wash and another individual near Oracle and Rudasill Road.

Tucson was issued a flash flood warning until 2:45 p.m. Monday for the greater Tucson area. Phoenix had one in effect until 5 p.m. Motorists were recommended to stay off the roads and avoid areas with high water levels.

—Follow Max Rodriguez @njmaxrod and Ariella Noth @sheba201

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