The earthen Menagers Dam is in imminent danger of failing, potentially sending floodwaters rushing into the Tohono O'odham village of Ali Chuk, Ariz. on Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2018, southwest of Sells, Ariz. Evacuations had begun Tuesday night after Hurricane Rosa's remnants drenched the western half of Arizona. (Mike Christy/Arizona Daily Star via AP)

Southern Arizona dam holding as water recedes

October 03, 2018 - 6:30 pm

PHOENIX (AP) — A southern Arizona dam that had been at risk of breaking and flooding a small village held steady Wednesday as the lake behind it receded after being swollen with runoff from the remnants of Tropical Storm Rosa.

The water level at Menagers Dam dropped about 4 feet (1.2 meters) over the course of the day after rising to just a foot (0.3 meters) below the top of the earthen dam, said Matt Smith, a spokesman for the Tohono O'odham (TOH'-oh-no OH'-tum) Nation.

Ali Chuk, a Native American community with 162 people, had been evacuated Tuesday night.

Smith did not immediately have an update on the evacuations after officials inspected the dam and lake by helicopter and determined the water was receding.

During the past three days, moisture from the storm dumped 5 to 7 inches (13 to 18 centimeters) of rain in isolated mountain areas near the dam, the National Weather Service said. Flooding from runoff made roads impassable.

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

Elsewhere in the state, flash flood watches in Phoenix and other areas were set to expire later Wednesday as the storm left the region and headed for Colorado and Utah.

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

A separate flash flood warning was issued through Thursday morning for Yavapai County north of Phoenix due to possible thunderstorms.

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.