9 members of single family killed in Arizona flash flood as search continues

PHOTO: Gila County Sheriffs Office deputy Larry Hassinger stands watch at the entrance to the First Crossing recreation area during a search and rescue operation for victims of a flash flood, July 16, 2017, in Payson, Ariz.PlayRalph Freso/AP
WATCH 9 members of single family killed in Arizona flash flood as search continues

A search and rescue operation resumed this morning after nine people from a single family, including several children, died and others went missing in a flash flood along the Verde River in Arizona on Saturday, according to the Gila County Sheriff's Department.

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A large group of people was at the river, swimming in the area of the Cold Springs swimming hole in the town of Payson on Saturday afternoon when the flash flood hit, police said.

A 27-year-old man is still missing, according to the sheriff's department.

At least four people were rescued and airlifted to a hospital, police said.

Four bodies were recovered Saturday, and five were reportedly recovered Sunday. The deceased ranged in age from 2 to 60, and were all members of the same family.

The flooding followed a weather forecast by ABC News meteorologists predicting "monsoonal related thunderstorms" throughout the weekend in the Southwest.

The storm was violent and unleashed 6-foot-deep floodwaters, dark with ash from a summer wildfire, according to a report in the Associated Press.

The torrent carried along tree branches and other debris, the AP reported.

Payson "experienced heavy rain" before the flash flood, and search and rescue operations were initiated to find individuals reported missing, the sheriff's office said. Search operations remain underway for others who went missing during the flood, the office said.

Arizona is not out of the woods, by any means, when it comes to extreme weather conditions. A flash flood watch will be in effect for the southeastern part of the state until Monday evening, according to the National Weather Service.

Flash flood warnings are in effect for parts of Arizona this morning, including Nogales, Rio Rico and Patagonia, according to the NWS.

Thunderstorms are possible across portions of Arizona tonight and across other parts of the Southwest, according to ABC News meteorologists.

The expected thunderstorm activity will likely remain isolated to scattered in nature, but the storms that form will bring strong, gusty winds and torrential rain, which could trigger even more flash flooding in the region.

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