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Phoenix-area residents rescued from houses, cars after flash flooding

By Steve Almasy and Mayra Cuevas CNN
updated 8:49 PM EDT, Tue August 19, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Two women were trapped inside a house as waters smashed into its foundation
  • Another woman has to be rescued from her car
  • Multiple cars stranded under an overpass
  • CNN affiliate reports one area received 3.98 inches of rain Tuesday

(CNN) -- As many as four inches of rain fell near Phoenix on Tuesday, sending flash floodwater through areas of Arizona already saturated from recent rains.

Two women and their two dogs were rescued after flood waters trapped them inside a house in the rural community of New River north of Phoenix, according to Amanda Jacinto, spokeswoman for the fire department in the Phoenix suburb of Peoria.

Aerial video from CNN affiliate KTVK showed firefighters landing on the roof of the house. Strong currents enveloped the base of the home and water pressure ripped off parts of the structure.

Jacinto said the rescuers were unable to hoist the women onto the roof, so a four-person crew from the fire department could reach them via a shallow-water crossing.

No one was injured during the rescue, according to Phoenix Fire Department Capt. Benjamin Santilla.

Santilla reported 14 other rescues in the area.

An elderly woman was trapped in her car as flood waters swelled around her SUV, submerging the bottom half of the vehicle, aerial video from KTVK showed. Two emergency responders pulled her to safety.

Tui Khan was one of several drivers stuck as they tried to make it under an overpass in Phoenix.

"The cars were passing and one big wave came and then a bigger wave," Khan told CNN affiliate KNXV. Fire crews towed his car from the underpass.

Peoria Fire Capt. James Neely assisted with the rescue. "It's been a very busy morning," he told KNXV. "A lot of stranded drivers trying to make their way to and from school."

Maricopa County activated its Emergency Operations Center Tuesday afternoon, according to Pete Weaver, director of the county's emergency department.

"We are watching the current weather forecast and do not anticipate things being as bad the rest of today and into tonight because we are now experiencing quick-moving small cells, but you never know with weather so we are keeping our EOC activated," said Weaver.

The National Weather Service in Phoenix said a flash-flood warning was in effect for central Maricopa County in Arizona until 2:15 p.m. local time.

The service tweeted at 1 p.m. that very heavy rain was about to fall in Scottsdale.

There was 3.98 inches of rain in New River, according to KTVK.

CNN's Suzanne Presto and Tony Marco contributed to this report.

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