Skunk Creek flooding first of its kind

PHOENIX - Maricopa Flood Control District officials say Tuesday’s flooding in the North Valley was one of a kind.

RELATED: Monsoon storm floods many parts of Phoenix metro, Arizona

“I’ve worked here 13 years and have never seen flooding like that near Skunk Creek,” said Joe Munoz, Communications Director with Maricopa Flood Control District.

Munoz told ABC15 Skunk Creek is meant to handle the watershed, but Tuesday’s monsoon storm dumped five inches in two hours which he can’t recall ever happening before.

“It was a first of its kind.” said Munoz.

Maricopa County officials have brought in a U.S. Geological Survey team to help determine just how bad the flooding was and whether Tuesday’s event is something they may see again in the future.

“One of the things we're calculating is how often and event like this is likely to happen,” said Jim Leenhouts, with US Geological Survey (USGS).

Even though much of the rain has dried or drained away, Leenhouts showed ABC15 how they could tell by just looking at the terrain where the flooding began and ended.

While numbers and measurements won’t be out for a few days, early estimates show flood water crested past Skunk Creek’s banks by nearly 400 feet at its widest and evidence showed it may have been as deep as 12 to 15 feet in some areas.

“It flooded into the CAP canal which caused some concern and also onto the I-17,” said Leenhouts.

The Arizona Department of Transportation was forced to close Interstate-17 after floodwaters overtook the freeway near the Dove Valley exit.

“It’s a pretty unusual event. But, obviously can happen again,” said Leenhouts.

The data collected by USGS for Maricopa County will be used to avoid future flooding as well as future zoning for growth.

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