Rescued woman says wash didn't appear dangerous
PHOENIX - Another round of wet weather hit the valley as storms moved through overnight and a woman was found trapped inside a mini-van near 19th Avenue and Desert Hills Tuesday morning.
According to the Daisy Mountain Fire Department, the water was deep, but as it receded, crews were able to wade into the wash to rescue her. She was pulled to safety and is okay.
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Crews used ropes as they waded to and from the van, which was in an unbridged crossing near Anthem.
The woman said she was headed south on 19th Avenue near Irvine and though she could make it through the water, thinking it wasn't that deep, just muddy. After becoming stuck, she called 9-1-1. Witnesses in the area also called for help.
Cindy Musselman of Phoenix said there was just a little muddy water on the road when she entered the crossing across the wash but that her vehicle got stuck when the water rose quickly as she entered a low area.
"..then all of a sudden when I got in the middle.. it went swish! Took my car and went backwards across the road," she said.
The storms that produced heavy rain and hail in northern Arizona and further south in Phoenix's suburbs came from a low-pressure system out of the west, said meteorologist Ken Waters with the National Weather Service in Phoenix. Weather forecasters said it is not directly related to a phenomenon known as El Nino that creates a persistent warming of the Pacific and threatens an unusually wet winter in California and Arizona.
It's too early to know if El Nino caused intense storms in California over the last few days that unleashed flooding and mudslides that inundated roads, homes and vehicles. Massive debris flows trapped more than 100 vehicles on one highway last week, and hardened mud has kept State Route 58 closed about 80 miles north of downtown Los Angeles.
Officials also suspended the search Tuesday for a 67-year-old man swept away during the California flooding because deep, wet mud in the area made the search too dangerous.
The National Weather Service issued watches and warnings for strong winds, heavy rain and hail for large areas of Arizona and New Mexico.
The area where Musselman was rescued Tuesday morning in Phoenix's far northern outskirts later was pelted with marble-sized hail. There were no immediate reports of damage or injury.
The Associatd Press contributed to this report.