LAS VEGAS — The Latest on storms in the Southwest U.S. (all times local):
Officials in Las Vegas say seven people had to be rescued Friday and another one is still missing after they were swept away by rushing flood waters in two washes.
Jeff Buchanan is the Clark County Fire Department deputy chief. He says efforts are still underway to find the missing person who was in a wash where another person was rescued and then transported to a hospital for treatment.
The thunderstorms prompted the National Weather Service in Las Vegas to issue a flash-flood warning.
Buchanan says six people were rescued from a wash behind the Linq casino-hotel on the Las Vegas Strip.
Meteorologist Alex Boothe says a rain gauge at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino just of the Strip recorded almost a half inch of rain during the storm.
Dozens of utility company workers have been deployed across the Phoenix metro area to replace broken power poles and repair downed lines after powerful storms brought winds and torrential rains to the area.
Huge trees were toppled across the city and in neighboring communities. The trees crushed cars and homes amid high wind gusts and a series of downbursts that also flooded roadways and parks early Thursday evening.
Jesse Thomas of All About Trees said Friday that the phone at his tree removal service had been ringing non-stop.
He spoke as his crew prepared to deal with an 80-foot (24-meter) tall, 20-ton Aleppo pine that crashed into a house from a neighboring property.
The National Weather Service says a tornado formed briefly amid monsoon storms that thrashed metro Phoenix late Thursday but that the tornado itself was very weak and apparently didn’t cause any damage other than kicking up dust.
Weather service meteorologist Andrew Deemer says the tornado occurred south of downtown Phoenix and lasted for three or four minutes after as air masses collided and began spinning.
He says the tornado had winds of approximately 40 mph (64 kph) — weaker than main storm winds of 50-60 mph (80-97 kph) that downed power lines and knocked down trees.
Deemer says the tornado was of a generally weak type that forms on the ground and extends upward, in contrast to more powerful ones that descend to the ground.
He says tornadoes are somewhat rare in Arizona but do occur periodically. One was reported several weeks ago near Florence, which is 50 miles (80 kilometers) southeast of Phoenix.
The Phoenix Zoo is closed Friday as officials assess damage from powerful monsoon storms and crews begin cleaning up damage that included uprooted trees, destroyed tents and flooded trails.
Zoo spokeswoman Linda Hardwick all the animals are safe and accounted for and that no animal habitats or other permanent structures were damaged during storms that hit metro Phoenix late Thursday afternoon with lightning, strong winds and driving rain.
The storms flooded streets, delayed flights and temporarily knocked out power to thousands of people in the metro area.
Hardwick says zoo officials haven’t yet decided whether the zoo will be ready to reopen Saturday.
Crews at the zoo are using chain saws to cut up downed trees that will be removed by heavy equipment.