Nearly 10 Million Americans Across Southwest Under Threat of ‘Prolific Rainfall and Widespread Flash Flooding’

Parts of eastern Texas could see nearly 3 feet of rain through Friday, forecasters say, warning of potential flash floods from Tropical Depression Imelda. Here, Angel Marshman walks through floodwaters in Galveston after trying to start his flooded car Wednesday. (David J. Phillip/AP)

Nearly 10 million people across Arizona, New Mexico and western Texas are under flood watches Saturday, including Phoenix, Albuquerque and El Paso.

“The stage is set for southern Arizona and New Mexico to potentially receive prolific rainfall and widespread flash flooding today,” as a low-pressure system brings moist, tropical air to the Southwest in the form of heavy rain and thunderstorms to add to the already active monsoon season across the region, the Weather Prediction Center said early Saturday morning.

Widespread rainfall totals of 2 to 3 inches, with locally higher totals of 5 to 7 inches, are forecast across the region — leading the WPC to issue a level 3 out of 4 “moderate” risk for excessive rainfall ahead of the wet forecast. That could mean widespread flash flooding across the Southwest.

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On Saturday, a search and rescue operation for a missing person continued at Zion National Park in Utah following a flash flood on the Virgin River, according to a tweet from the national park.

Rangers were alerted about hikers being “swept off their feet” near the Temple of Sinawava on Friday afternoon, according to Zion National Park spokesman Jonathan Shafer. Some hikers have been located.

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SOURCE: CNN, Haley Brink

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