TUCSON, Ariz. -- The worst floods in Arizona in the 20th century Monday swept through the southeastern part of the state, adding to the devastation that has taken at least 12 lives, temporarily isolated the state's second largest city and forced thousands of people from their homes.
'It's getting worse on all fronts,' said John Paulsen, spokesman for the state division of emergency services. 'We thought we'd get some relief, but that's just not been forthcoming.'
An unidentified body was found in the Santa Cruz River Monday, and officials also reported that another victim, Greg McCalister, 37, of Apache Junction was swept into the same river Sunday as he took pictures of the rusOing water.
Other reported deaths included a family of four swept into a creek north of Prescott; two crew members of a Department of Public Safety helicopter that crashed on a rescue mission near Marana; a Tucson man who drowned in the Tanque Verde River; two Navy fliers whose plane crashed in a storm near Oatman, and a woman killed in a storm-connected auto accident at Phoenix.
For awhile Interstate 10 -- the only remaining artery between Phoenix and Tucson, second largest city in the state -- was closed 18 miles south of Phoenix, when the rising Gila River washed out the supports of the eastbound bridge. 'Tucson has effectively become an island,' said Terry Conner, spokesman for the state Department of Public Safety.
Later, officials put together a circuitous detour that opened limited traffic between the two cities.
Other communities remained cut off by the flooding, necessitating the heavy use of helicopterr to conduct rescue operations.
At Coolidge, 300 retarded residents of Arizona Training Program were evacuated after 3 inches of water seeped into some cottages Monday, said Jonna Austin, acting assistant program manager.
Official said the onslaught of storms had brought the worst flooding in the 20th century to Arizona.
State officials estimated as many as 4,000 remained homeless. Since the storms began Wednesday night, flooding has caused millions of dollars damage in the southeast corner of the state, broken a rural earthen dam and threatened others.
Morenci, Clifton, Duncan and Maricopa were among the cities cut off. All traffic destined to cross Arizona between California and New Mexico was diverted to Interstate 40 in the northern part of the state.
'I-40 is the only way across the state unless they choose to fly or have very large pontoons on the sides of their cars,' Conners said.
Five people in a stalled four-wheel drive vehicle were washed into the Gila River near Chandler and later rescued.
Meanwhile, Arizona's congressional delegation Monday urged President Reagan to declare Arizona a disaster area, saying the flooding was worse than recent floods of the Colorado River.
Federal officials insisted Gov. Bruce Babbitt had not requested emergency aid, while Babbitt's staff insisted otherwise.
Tucson, a city of 450,000, the nearby cotton farming town of Marana and the mining community of Clifton near New Mexico were hardest hit as raging waters smashed out sections of bridges, felled steel high voltage towers and left several thousand people homeless.
Marana Mayor Bill Schisler said his town was virtually deserted but that residents had accepted the evacuation 'like little troupers.'
'Twenty-five percent of Marana is under water and in another 25 percent water is up to the doors,' the mayor said. 'All the streets are running like little rivers.'
About 500 people had to seek temporary shelter when a 35-foot dam at Bonita broke, pouring thousands of gallons of water into a desert wash and flooding the agricultural community of Willcox 25 miles away.
'A lot of people weren't even aware there was a dam up there,' said Glenn Nelson, general manager of radio station KHIL in Willcox.
Rock slides blocked access to the mountaintop resort community of Mount Lemmon, cutting off several hundred people.
Electric, natural gas and water utility customers experienced extensive outages. Power was restored to Marana using a backup system early Monday.
West of Casa Grande, the Santa Cruz River overflowed Interstate 8 in two places, closing the road and temporarily marooning an unknown number of motorists.
Damage could not be estimated until the state dried out, officials said. In Tucson alone, initial estimates were $1 million-$10 million to public facilities and farmers were expected to suffer millions in losses from damage to cotton, corn, lettuce and other crops that were ready for harvest.