Officials warn Arizona dam could fail and flood village



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PHOENIX — An earthen dam in Arizona’s southern desert could fail and flood a small village because the lake behind it is swollen with runoff from the remnants of Tropical Storm Rosa, officials said Wednesday.

Ali Chuk, a Native American community with 162 people on the Tohono O’odham (TOH’-oh-no OH’-tum) Nation reservation, was being evacuated Tuesday night, the tribe’s public safety department said in a statement.

No further details were available Wednesday on the evacuations. Tribal officials planned to inspect the dam and lake by helicopter.

Water levels were within a foot (0.3 meters) of topping Menagers Dam, which could give way and flood Ali Chuk, the National Weather Service said.

The area near the Mexico border got between 3 and 5 inches (8 to 13 centimeters) of rain on Tuesday. Flooding from runoff made roads impassable.

There were no reports Wednesday of additional rain.

The tribal safety department said 30 people had been evacuated from another village on the reservation because of flooding.

Elsewhere in the state, forecasters warned of more possible flooding in Phoenix and other areas.

The weather service said up to 1 inch (2.5 centimeters) of rain had fallen in parts of Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix, and that flash flooding was expected.

A separate flash flood warning was issued for Yavapai County north of Phoenix due to high water in a creek in Cornville and for a small part of the Tohono O’odham (TOH’-oh-no OH’-tum) Nation’s reservation in Pima County in southern Arizona.

The weather service said a record 2.35 inches (5.97 centimeters) of rain had fallen at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport as of Tuesday night.

That made it the rainiest October day since records have been kept, topping the 2.32 (5.89) inches recorded on Oct. 14, 1988.

It also marked the eighth-rainiest day in Phoenix history for any date.

The storm was also expected to dump rain on Utah and Colorado.


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