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Phoenix Sky Harbor ends dry streak while northern Arizona is on flood watch

The dry steak at Sky Harbor Airport, where Phoenix’s National Weather Service measures rainfall, has finally ended. 

After 147 days, the area received 0.002 inches. 

Though it was little, it was enough. Rain finally hit Sky Harbor just 13 days shy of breaking the longest dry-streak record.

More storms are expected across the Valley this weekend. 

Meteorologist Isaac Smith, with NWS, says Hurricane Hilary is increasing Arizona’s chances of severe weather.

“We currently do have a flood watch in effect, which extends from western Maricopa County, all the way out to California," Smith said.

Flooding chances in northern Arizona

Northern Arizona is under a flood watch Friday, as the high country is expected to see heavy rainfall.

NWS meteorologist Valerie Meola said moisture from Hurricane Hilary is partially to blame for the stormy weather.

“As Hilary kind of lifts along Baja through the weekend and into early next week, the threat for the heavy rain and flash flooding should start to shift further west and may continue to affect some of our western areas earlier in the weekend," she said.

Lake Havasu City officials sent a warning to residents telling them to be cautious about driving on flooded roadways and prepare their homes for strong winds.

Meanwhile, the city of Yuma was preparing Thursday by providing residents with a self-serve sandbag filling station.

The sandbag station will be stocked with sand and empty bags for self-filling while supplies last. Residents were allowed five sandbags per vehicle.

1st tropical storm watch in southern California

Hurricane Hilary grew rapidly to Category 4 strength off Mexico’s Pacific coast on Friday and could reach Southern California as the first tropical storm there in 84 years, causing “significant and rare impacts” including extensive flooding.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said a tropical storm watch has been issued for Southern California, the first time it has ever done that.

Hilary had sustained winds near 145 mph early Friday, and was expected to strengthen a bit more before starting to weaken. It nevertheless was expected to still be a hurricane when approaching Mexico’s Baja California peninsula on Saturday night, and a tropical storm when approaching Southern California on Sunday.

No tropical storm has made landfall in Southern California since Sept. 25, 1939, according to the National Weather Service.

“Heavy rainfall in association with Hilary is expected to impact the Southwestern United States through next Wednesday, peaking on Sunday and Monday,” the hurricane center said. It said there was a substantial danger of flash flooding in an area stretching from San Diego to Las Vegas.

“Rainfall amounts of 3 to 6 inches, with isolated amounts of 10 inches, are expected across portions of southern California and southern Nevada, which would lead to significant and rare impacts. Elsewhere across portions of the Western United States, rainfall totals of 1 to 3 inches are expected.”

Phoenix forecast

Friday: A 40% chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly sunny, with a high near 105. At night, showers likely and possibly a thunderstorm before midnight, then a chance of showers and thunderstorms after midnight. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 88.

Saturday: A 50% chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 98. At night, a 50% chance of showers and thunderstorms. Cloudy, with a low around 81.

Sunday: A chance of showers, with thunderstorms also possible after noon. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 97. Chance of precipitation is 40%. At night, a 50% chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 82.

Monday: A 30% chance of showers and thunderstorms, mainly before noon. Partly sunny, with a high near 98. At night, a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms. Chance of precipitation is 20%. Partly cloudy, with a low around 82.

Source: National Weather Service

Jill Ryan joined KJZZ in 2020 as a morning reporter, and she is currently a field correspondent and Morning Edition producer.