CASA GRANDE — This week’s dry spell may come to an end in Pinal County Thursday as more monsoon storms are expected to roll in.

According to the National Weather Service in Phoenix, the Casa Grande area has a 30% chance of showers and thunderstorms Thursday after 11 a.m. and 40% chance of showers and thunderstorms Thursday night and Friday after 11 a.m.

The chance of rain increases to 50% overnight on Friday, then dropping back to 40% on Saturday. The chance of rain decreases to 20% at the start of the next workweek. The NWS predicts less than a tenth of an inch of new rain by Friday.

Temperatures will drop from a high near 102 on Thursday into the high 90s over the weekend, with overnight lows hovering in the high 70s. Temperatures begin climbing back to the 100-degree mark on Sunday.

With the increased chance of rain over the weekend comes the increased risk of local flooding, similar to what happened last weekend.

The Eloy Police Department warned residents on July 26 of a breach of the north bank of the Santa Cruz River near Toltec Buttes and that the water was flowing toward Eloy. The department reported that the river that day was 80 to 100% full.

Pinal County closed sections of Sunland Gin and Pretzer roads because of the flooding, Pinal County spokeswoman Gina Salinas stated in an email. The flooding may have been caused by an old farmer’s berm that was built along the Greene Wash. When the water reached the berm it flowed northward and then overtopped Sunland Gin and Pretzer roads. Sunland Gin road is now open. 

 The Pinal County Sheriff’s Office responded to eight incidents of vehicles being stuck in floodwaters on July 25 and had to rescue at least six of the vehicles.

The Arizona Department of Public Safety also warned motorists on Monday to slow down during rain storms after a woman lost control of her car while driving east on Interstate 10 near Vail. The car struck a fence, jumped a culvert and rolled into a tree before coming to rest on its passenger side and catching fire.

The driver was able to escape the car but when she jumped down from the vehicle, she landed in a fast-moving wash. The water swept her into a culvert under the interstate and about 300 yards before she was able to grab a tree branch and haul herself out of the water. She had only minor injuries.

Weekend storms bring a lot of rain to Casa Grande.

The Arizona Department of Transportation also recommends that motorists slow down during rainstorms to avoid hydroplaning and losing control of their vehicles. Other ADOT tips for driving during rainstorms include:

  • Don’t cross flooded washes. A foot of water can carry off a vehicle.
  • Avoid areas where water is pooling in travel lanes.
  • Do not drive around “Road Closed” signs. You could be cited under the state’s stupid motorist law if you become stuck.
  • If a traffic light is out, treat the intersection as a four-way stop.
  • Keep extra supplies, an emergency kit and water in your vehicle.
  • Stay alert in rockfall-prone areas.
  • Leave plenty of room between your vehicle and the one in front of you. Wet roads can affect the stopping distance of a vehicle.
  • Check and replace your windshield wipers if needed.
  • Turn your headlights on.
  • Avoid braking suddenly. Instead take your foot off the gas and brake slowly.
  • Don’t follow trucks and other large vehicles too closely. The spray from the tires can lessen visibility.
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Suzanne Adams-Ockrassa is a reporter covering the city of Casa Grande and the surrounding area, as well as Central Arizona College. She can be reached at sadams@pinalcentral.com.