Arizona Flash Flood Leaves 2 People Dead, Dozens Rescued: 'We Didn't Expect This At All'

A flash flood in Gila Bend, Arizona put the area in a state of emergency and killed two people on Saturday

Gila Bend Arizona
Photo: Arizona Rangers - Tucson Co./Facebook

A flash flood in Arizona has left two people dead after monsoon rains ripped though the town of Gila Bend Saturday.

AZ Family reports that a state of emergency was declared in Gila Bend after the extreme weather event, which led to 30 rescues and devastating water damage. According to the outlet, the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office (MCSO) said that a woman in her 50s was killed after being swept down the river bed, while another victim of the flash flood died when their vehicle was caught in the floodwaters. Authorities have released no further information about the victims at this time.

Deputies were first called out around 4 a.m. Saturday, where they launched a search and rescue mission. Around 100 residents are unable to return to their homes due to the devastating damage cause by the severe flood. Evacuations of the area are ongoing, 12 News reported Sunday, citing officials.

Gila Bend Arizona
Arizona Rangers - Tucson Co./Facebook

Gila Bend resident Ty Turner said he, his girlfriend and their daughter Micaila were asleep on Friday night when the flooding began.

"We didn't expect this at all," he told AZ Family. "Luckily, our little brothers woke us up because we would have either drowned or woken up a little bit worse and not saved anything."

After climbing to their roof with the assistance of some firefighters, Turner and his family were rescued by a helicopter. Nearly all of their belongings have been lost in the flood.

"All our clothes? Gone. Diapers that were already open? Gone. Save anything important like our documents? We didn't get to. We have nothing really," Turner said.

Another Gila Bend resident said they've never seen anything like the flash flood before in the small town, which is about 70 miles southwest of Phoenix.

"This is like the first time I've ever seen it like this, get this bad. We never get any rain," Jaize Puffer told AZ Family. "Since this was the first time, it was shocking for me."

MCSO Capt. Joe Dietrich said about 100 first responders were called in to help on Saturday. As of 3:30 p.m. that day, they called off their search and rescue efforts. Because more rain was predicted on Sunday, deputies remained in the town for another day.

"That's why we're getting resources in place to include aviation, our lake patrol units with air boats, ATVs, search and rescue to include quick water as well in case we do have any flooding tonight as well," Dietrich said.

Gila Bend Arizona
Arizona Rangers - Tucson Co./Facebook

Gila Bend Mayor Chris Riggs declared a state of emergency early Saturday morning as the American Red Cross was called in to help. Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jack Sellers declared a local emergency for the county later that day.

On Sunday, AZ Central reported that the National Weather Service in Phoenix has now extended the flash flood watch to 2 a.m. on Tuesday, a warning that applies to both central and southern Arizona.

Due to storms in the area over the weekend, the ground of the metro Phoenix area is already saturated. The rainwater creates conditions for flash floods to come in quickly, despite the forecast of possibly mild showers, which could still pose a threat to the area.

Phoenix is expected to see more monsoon-like weather this week, with increased chances of rain Monday and Tuesday evening.

Now, residents are asked to check in and report themselves as safe by contacting the Town Clerk, Beverly Turner, at 623-734-6504. Locals are also asked to report anyone that may be missing, the Town of Gila Bend posted on Facebook.

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