Following a monsoon that drenched south-central Arizona, two people were found dead due to flooding in Gila Bend.
Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office officials said a woman in her 50s was swept down the river bottom in one of the washes. The second victim was in their vehicle when the floodwaters swept it away. The vehicle was found upside down. The names of the victims have not been released.
According to Arizona DOT, the rain led to the closures of Phoenix freeways and State Route 238 remains closed both ways.
The town of 2,000 people, Gila Bend is currently under a state of emergency due to the flooding declared by mayor Chris Riggs.
In a Facebook video posted of Riggs by the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, a man and woman died in the flooding.
“Hopefully we don’t find any more in our search,” Riggs said. “We are a resilient community, and we are a strong community.”
Gila Bend located 51 miles southwest of Phoenix, had nearly 1.5 inches of rain in 24 hours, but a nearby site along a state highway that was closed because of flooding measured 3.9 inches, according to the Maricopa County Flood Control District’s website.
Maricopa County responded to Gila Bend’s emergency declaration by giving the town access to emergency funds and by sending crews and equipment to clear roads and help recovery efforts.
MCSO says rescuers saved about 30 people on their rooftops, surrounded by flash floods due to the monsoon. About 100 people have so much water damage to their homes that they have to stay somewhere else.
The first responders who assisted are from the Department of Public Safety, Gila Bend Fire Department, Phoenix Fire Department, AMR and Tohono O’odham Nation.
City officials are reminding the public that those who need shelter or resources can visit the Gila Bend High School main gymnasium.
Authorities are warning residents to brace for more wet weather. The National Weather Service of Phoenix says more storms are expected on Tuesday. They are warning that the storms have the potential to create even more flooding. In preparation, city crews have started handing out sandbags at Burleson Park, located at 900 North Logan Avenue.
If residents need assistance, please call 1-800-842-7349.