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Monsoon rains wreak havoc in Arizona

| Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014, 8:18 p.m.
Firefighters talk with Tracey Tumlinson before she was rescued, Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014, from her home flooded by the New River Wash, in New River, Arizona. (AP Photo/The Arizona Republic, Mark Henle) MARICOPA COUNTY OUT; MAGS OUT; NO SALES

PHOENIX — Heavy monsoon season rains that swept across Arizona on Tuesday led to dramatic rescues, road closures and flight delays as a series of fast-moving storms pummeled the state.

A helicopter crew rescued two women and three dogs from a home surrounded by swift-moving waters in a town about 30 miles north of Phoenix. Elsewhere, a small trailer park was evacuated; a school was flooded; and first-responders pulled motorists from partially submerged vehicles.

The National Weather Service issued a flash-flood warning for much of the Phoenix metro area and north, where up to 8 inches of rain fell by mid-day in some of the mountainous regions along Interstate I-17.

Dramatic aerial television footage showed a river of muddy water rushing down I-17 about 25 miles north of the capital as motorists changed lanes to avoid the deluge. Other footage showed authorities pulling an elderly woman from a van stuck in rushing floodwaters — scenes repeated across the region throughout the day as motorists became trapped while driving through typically dry desert washes.

Gov. Jan Brewer said her office is monitoring the effects of the storm and will take additional action if necessary. The governor said she has been glued to the TV all day watching the rescues.

“It looked absolutely devastating,” Brewer said. “For the last 10, 15 years, we've never seen anything the likes of this.”

Nearly 5 inches of rain fell on the town of New River, where a helicopter dropped a rescuer onto the roof of a home to pull women and dogs to safety; a white piece of fabric was waved from a window to draw attention.

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