PHOENIX — Sunday afternoon a man hung on to a tree, stranded in the middle of the Salt River awaiting rescue.
It became the latest in a string of water rescues as first responders deal with rising waters throughout the Valley.
"We’ve been very lucky, we’ve had a lot of resources dedicated to this," said Maricopa County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Joaquin Enriquez.
Enriquez said the county water rescue team has been training on the Salt River over the weekend.
On Friday, Phoenix fire officials rescued a couple stranded in their car after they tried to cross a flooded road on 91st Avenue.
“We had two that were trapped on top of a car and had to be rescued with a helicopter,” said Captain Larry Subervi with the Phoenix Fire Department.
The increase in water rescues coincides with more water flowing downstream from northern Arizona.
“Folks who are new to the Valley, folks who have been here for years, this is new for everybody,” Salt River Project's Patty Garcia Likens said.
SRP estimates there are a million feet of water up north in the form of snowpack.
“This is the heaviest snowpack we’ve seen in about 30 years,” Garcia-Likens said.
SRP is releasing water from its reservoirs to make room for the impending snow melt. The release is controlled, but the water still floods roads and contributes to high water levels.
Phoenix fire warns motorists to avoid crossing flooded roadways.
“The reality is you can't see what’s underneath. The sticks, the debris, that’s going through there. All it takes is something small to knock you off balance, and then you’re flowing down the river,“ Subervi said.
"A lot of people go 'it’s not going to happen to me.' The reality is it is happening to someone. If you take a chance and try to cross this river, that person could absolutely be you."
SRP said these conditions may continue for some time. They expect to continue releasing water for the next several weeks, potentially into mid-April.
Up to Speed
Catch up on the latest news and stories on the 12News YouTube channel. Subscribe today.