Record Rainfall Causes Fatal Floods Across Southwest

Experts say the kind of rainfall hitting Arizona and Nevada is a once-in-several-centuries event.

Record Rainfall Causes Fatal Floods Across Southwest

Record-breaking rainfall pummeled the Southwest Monday, as the remnants of Hurricane Norbert brought fatal flooding to the region.

In Phoenix, one person is dead after the city was inundated early in the day. The National Weather Service says the area received more than five times the rain it usually gets in all of September and the most single-day rainfall since records began nearly 120 years ago.

The system then moved on to Las Vegas, dropping at least 4.6 inches of rain, or more than two thirds the annual average rainfall for the city, according to The Weather Channel. A meteorologist for the site said:

"This is an extreme amount of rain for a desert environment. NOAA estimates this type of rainfall should happen once every 500 to 1,000 years in that area, assuming no climate change."

But unfortunately even all that rainfall won't do much to stem the drought that has hit the Southwest particularly hard this year.

An official in Phoenix told KNXV the rain did help stock up the reservoir a bit at Lake Pleasant in Arizona, but it will have little to no longterm affect overall.

A meteorologist writing for Slate explains, "When it rains this much this quickly in the desert, most of the water makes its way into dry creek beds and river systems, failing to recharge the dwindling water table," adding it would take three days of this kind of rain to end the drought in Phoenix.

Arizona governor Jan Brewer has already declared a state of emergency for areas hit hardest by Monday's rainfall. Another person was reported dead in the Tucson area after being swept away by flood waters.