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Driver shares flash flood experience on Loop 303

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Flash flood on Loop 303 (Courtesy: Shawn Rael) Flash flood on Loop 303 (Courtesy: Shawn Rael)
PHOENIX (CBS5) -

Flash floods forced the closure of a portion of Loop 303 Tuesday afternoon.

CBS 5 News spoke with a driver who had to slam on the breaks when water suddenly gushed across the highway.

"I was posting to Facebook, I was laughing; I'm like, ‘Arizona, yeah - flash floods. They ain't going to happen to me,'" said Surprise resident Shawn Rael about his thoughts prior to encountering one.

Rael even poked fun at a flash flood warning on his cell phone.

He sarcastically wrote on a screen shot of the alert, "Yikes! Oh, crap!"

But a half hour later – around 1:40 Tuesday afternoon – Rael ate his words.

It was sunny out as he drove along Loop 303, five miles west of I-17.

"(The) pavement was dry," he explained. "And, then just a four-inch wall of water just came screeching across that highway. I thought I was going to hydroplane."

After Rael and several other drivers hit the brakes and came to a stop, he snapped a few pictures of the flash flood that rolled in from the north.

"It just spread rapidly, quickly," said Rael. "(It) was a wide spread of water, just in a matter of minutes. The state patrol or department of transportation, about four of those cops came rushing up,  just trying to get us out - telling everybody just ‘back up, back up.'"

Fortunately, no one got stuck and no one was hurt.

But an important lesson was learned.

From now on, Rael said he will be listening for those flash flood alerts on his cell phone.

"Pay attention to this, you know," he said. "Because all day long, I didn't pay attention - and I'm just not used to it - and, now I am."

Crews with the Arizona Department of Transportation worked all day to clear water and mud from the road.

ADOT reopened the northbound lanes of Loop 303 around 9 p.m. Tuesday.

As of 11 p.m., the southbound lanes – from I-17 to Lake Pleasant Road – remained closed.

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