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Archive for Wednesday, August 2, 2006

Third day of rain swamps El Paso

August 2, 2006

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— A third day of heavy rain caused widespread flooding around El Paso on Tuesday, swamping mountainside homes, forcing evacuations and closing major roads.

Emergency crews juggled an onslaught of distress calls, but there were no immediate reports of any serious injuries.

Authorities said at least 60 people had been rescued, some standing on roofs, others atop cars.

Fire officials said they were worried about mudslides, boulders and other debris falling from rocky cliffs around several El Paso neighborhoods.

The rain threatened to push the Rio Grande over its banks and more than doubled the normal speed of the river's current, authorities said. The river started to recede Tuesday night.

The parched region had less than an inch of rain in the first six months of the year. But it may have gotten as much as 6 inches since Sunday, the National Weather Service said. Forecasters expect the rain to continue through at least this morning.

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