Rosa threatens 9 million people with flooding, even in the desert Southwest

Rosa threatens 9 million people with flooding, even in the desert Southwest”

The now-tropical storm - which had been as strong as a Category 4 hurricane - is poised to make landfall along Mexico's Baja California Peninsula on Monday evening, where heavy rain was already being reported. The day was the city's second wettest October day on record, the agency said.

Flash floods are caused by heavy rain.

By Tuesday afternoon, Rosa will head toward the deserts of Arizona.

Flash flooding, debris flows and landslides are possible in mountainous terrain while surf and rip currents may hit the coast, the NHC said.

The rescues broadcast on TV Tuesday morning showed firefighters slogging through almost waist-deep water and carrying people one at a time to a firetruck. About 10 vehicles including a bus were at a standstill in the water or trying to drive through it.

Rains continued in parts of Phoenix on Tuesday night, flooding a portion of State Route 51 northbound near Cactus Road and neighborhood streets in an area west of that freeway and north of Glendale Avenue.

Private homes are more protected now from flood risk than they were earlier this summer because homeowners have cleared ravines and put in berms and other defensive elements around structures, he said.

The Phoenix area should dry out by the end of the week.

Authorities warned drivers to avoid entering streets or washes inundated with water. Several busy intersections also have closed. Maricopa Community Colleges canceled classes at all 10 of its campuses.

The National Weather Service issued flash flood warnings for much of central and western Arizona and southeastern California until 5 a.m. Wednesday.

The Utah National Guard was activated Monday to assist in flood mitigation efforts in Utah County. Southern Arizona, where flooding from Rosa began Sunday night, can expect 1 to 3 inches. Heavy rain Monday flooded streets in the city of Yuma at the U.S. -Mexico border and caused power outages. At least six roads in Tucson were closed because of flash flooding. Various Mexican media outlets reported that a woman was swept away by floodwaters and drowned in the city of Caborca, Sonora, on the Sea of Cortez.

Meanwhile, a separate storm, Hurricane Sergio, grew to major hurricane status in the Pacific on Tuesday, though it posed no immediate threat to land.

"Rosa brought more rain in just the past two days (Monday and Tuesday) then what we saw for the monsoon season this year", said Andrew Deemer, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Phoenix.

The storm has maximum sustained winds of 40 mph, with tropical storm-force winds extending about 150 miles from its center.

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