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Weekly Wrap Up: Rare Floods Engulf Phoenix, Wildfires Rage in West

Early in the week heavy rainfall swept across areas of the Southwest, prompting historic flooding in the Phoenix, Arizona, region. In the wake of the severe flooding, several people were left stranded, and in need of being rescued.

"There were slow-moving bands of heavy rainfall that tracked across the area, producing rainfall rates of more than 1 inch per hour," AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Brian Edwards said, adding monsoonal moisture is the reason behind the heavy rainfall.

By Tuesday evening, some locations had received more than 4 inches of rain, NOAA reported.

AccuWeather.com Senior Meteorologist Bernie Rayno said it is not unprecedented to get flooding in the Phoenix area, and cited various instances in which the region has been inundated by severe flooding since the late 1800s.

"This is not a set-up we see every year," Rayno said, referring to the monsoonal moisture which normally brings isolated thunderstorms to the area, and an upper low moving across California that contributed to focusing the storms just north of the area.

The combination of the focused storms, terrain and Arizona soil all worked together to provide the conditions for damaging floodwaters that swept across the region north of Phoenix, he said.

Heavy rainfall also contributed to massive landslides that killed dozens of people and caused damage near Hiroshima, Japan, in the early morning hours Wednesday.

The Japan Meteorological Agency reported that 217.5 mm (8.54 inches) of rain fell in just a three-hour period, 101.0 mm (3.98 inches) of which fell in just one hour.

This substantial amount of rain set a new all-time record in Hiroshima for the amount of rain in a three-hour period, more than doubling the old record of 101 mm set on Aug. 5, 1997.

Heavy rains on Thursday night left several Chicago areas flooded, including many residential areas.

Midway Airport recorded 4.45 inches of rain in less than three hours.

Some commuters faced travel delays Friday morning as the intense rain flooded some roadways and caused CTA lines to shut down according to the Chicago Tribune.

Also on Thursday, a rolling dust storm, known as a haboob, swept through the Coachella Valley in California.

Haboobs form when "outflow downdrafts from thunderstorms cause strong winds that pick up dust," according to AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Ken Clark.

In Madera County, California, a wildfire scorched more than 600 acres and destroyed 47 structures in its wake. More than 13,000 people were under force evacuation orders as the fire raged.

Two people suffered injuries as a result, according to California fire officials.

"While California is typically very dry this time of year, the ongoing drought conditions increase the threat of new wildfires," according to AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Eric Leister.

"The drought can cause wildfires to spread more easily, but also weather conditions, such a wind speed and direction as well as relative humidity, will determine how quickly the fire spreads in any given location."

Across the Deep South, temperatures continue to build, pushing the mercury to the century mark in some areas.

An area of high pressure is expected to remain across the south-central United States over the next several days.

"The upcoming weather pattern may deliver some of the hottest weather this summer," said AccuWeather.com Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.

Humidity levels will lead to an oppressive and stifling stretch of days that will last into the weekend, and may linger into next week for some areas.

Anybody who plans on partaking in any outdoor activities will want to take the necessary actions to battle the sizzling stretch.

Drinking plenty of water will help to keep your body hydrated and cool. Alcoholic and caffeinated beverages are a poor choice when battling the heat.