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WATCH: For 3rd day this week, flash floods stall El Paso commute

EL PASO, Texas -- Heavy rain falling across El Paso on Thursday triggered a Flash Flood Warning from the National Weather Service as weather conditions for a third time this week resulted in flooding that disrupted the afternoon commute for Borderland motorists.

Northeast and east El Paso, which saw several particularly strong storm cells with very heavy showers, experienced the brunt of the road problems.

Police closed U.S. 54 south at Dyer and diverted traffic as flood waters covered the roadway. There were also reports of stranded drivers along other portions of U.S. 54 at Montana, Fred Wilson, Cassidy and Ellerthorpe. An ABC-7 photographer took this photo of highway workers standing in floodwaters up to their waists as they tried to clear debris blocking drainage along U.S. 54 near Chaplin.

An ABC-7 crew even captured video of numerous motorists at U.S. 54 and Hercules actually driving the wrong-way down an entrance ramp to exit and escape the floods.

Authorities also handled calls for water rescues involving stranded motorists along Gateway South at Fred Wilson, Hayes and Cassidy. A photo provided by the Texas Department of Transportation showed the dangerous conditions, with a vehicle completely submerged in the floodwaters along Gateway South.

Also in northeast El Paso, motorists witnessed a geyser that erupted and spewed mud and water everywhere. It took place at Apollo and Howard and was captured on video by an ABC-7 photographer.

The El Paso Office of Emergency Management continued to warn that even a few inches of moving water can be dangerous for motorists, with murky conditions potentially concealing hazards such as potholes and debris. Officials noted that a vehicle can slip off the edge of the road, puncture a tire, or become high-centered on a submerged log.

Emergency management leaders also reiterated yet again the dangerous force of moving flood waters: "A slow stream moves at about 4 miles an hour – a good walking pace. At this speed, water exerts 66 pounds of force per square foot of surface area on anything in its path."

Officials emphasized that even when driving a large vehicle, like a truck or SUV, fast-moving water can easily overcome it.

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Article Topic Follows: Traffic

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Jim Parker

Jim Parker is the former Director of Digital Content for ABC-7.


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