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Heavy rain causes flash flooding in southeastern Mass. and parts of RI

One of the highest rain totals so far is in Rehoboth, which saw over seven inches of rain in three hours.

Despite much of Massachusetts experiencing a drought, heavy rain hit southeastern Massachusetts and parts of Rhode Island Tuesday, causing some flash flooding.

The National Weather Service announced a flash flood warning for northwestern Bristol County and west central Plymouth County in Massachusetts, and northern Bristol County, northeastern Kent County, and
southeastern Providence County in Rhode Island Tuesday afternoon.

The weather service said people in these areas should watch out for flash flooding of small creeks and streams, urban areas, highways, streets, and underpasses, as well as other poor drainage, until around 6:45 p.m.

A Google Maps image of where a flash flood warning is in effect in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. – Google Maps

In Rhode Island, Providence, Warwick, Cranston, Pawtucket, East Providence, Cumberland, North Providence, West Warwick, Johnston, Smithfield, Lincoln, and Central Falls were likely to see some flash flooding, according to NWS.

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In Massachusetts, the NWS said, Taunton, North Attleboro, Bridgewater, Attleboro, Mansfield, Middleborough, Easton, and Norton were likely to see flash floods.

By 4 p.m. some of these areas had already experienced four to six inches of rain. At 5:10 p.m., the NWS tweeted that one of the highest rainfall totals was in Rehoboth, where over seven inches of rain had already fallen between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m.

NWS meteorologist Bill Simpson said the flooding is very localized because it’s only in some areas that heavy rain and thunderstorms are hitting one after another.

“It’s called the training effect — where one storm happened, and then because of the wind direction, moving very slow, it comes right over the same area — that’s why you see the big discrepancies,” he said.

“Lots of areas are seeing an inch or so, but southeast Mass. over into northern Rhode Island are the most hard hit.”

Simpson said the storms and rain will taper down until about 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.

“What happened is that there’s this area of low pressure that’s running along the frontal boundary. That’s going to move on. So that’s what’s really giving us this heavy rain,” Simpson said.

Simpson said tomorrow should be dry and so should Thursday, but it’s unclear whether we’ll see rain this weekend.

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