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Drenching, Needed Rain Coming to Arizona May Cause Flooding

As a storm rolls in from the Pacific Ocean, much of Arizona is in for a dose of drenching rain and locally heavy thunderstorms later Thursday night into Saturday.

According to AccuWeather.com Western Weather Expert Ken Clark, "The rain is desperately needed in the region."

Many areas have not received measurable rain since early September. The rain to end this week could be the most significant since the monsoon in July and could even top that.

The storm has the potential to bring 3 inches of rain to a number of locations including Phoenix, which would equal or exceed the combined rainfall since July 1.

"Anytime the Southwest gets rain or mountain snow, it helps the water situation," Clark stated. "And, this should help out a great deal."

Other Arizona cities that will be on the receiving end of decent rainfall include Tucson, Yuma and Kingman. Cities outside Arizona that will pick up some needed rainfall include Las Vegas, Las Cruces, N.M., and El Paso, Texas.

On the other hand, enough rain could fall at fast enough pace to lead to flash and urban flooding.

People should use caution venturing in arroyos, hiking in canyons or crossing normally dry stream beds the next few days, as these can rapidly fill with water from rain miles away.

The storm system can also bring locally strong and gusty thunderstorms. A few locations could be hit with damaging wind gusts and hail.

As far as snow levels are concerned, they will be rather high with this event, initially.

However, snow levels will lower enough to bring Flagstaff a few inches of snow Friday into Saturday. Over the highest elevations, above 7,500 feet, a foot or two of snow can fall with this long-duration storm.

Enough snow could fall along I-40 and I-17 to cause slipper travel Friday into Saturday.

On average, Phoenix receives about 8 inches of rain per year. As of Nov. 20 this year, the city has picked up 5.6 inches, which is about 80 percent of normal for the date.