EL PASO, Texas – 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.
"We're doing OK at the moment," said police spokesman Javier Sambrano.
Authorities said at least 60 people had been rescued, some standing on roofs, others atop cars.
Fire officials said they were worried about boulders and other debris falling from rocky cliffs around several El Paso neighborhoods.
Rosa Reyes was given five minutes to evacuate with her 6-year-old daughter and a neighboring family after a rock wall behind her home collapsed. The tumbling wall punched a hole in the side of a house.
"The material things can be replaced," she said. "It sure didn't feel like five minutes."
A small apartment complex on a hill above Reyes' home was in danger of collapsing and had to be evacuated, said fire Capt. Keith Burch.
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 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 Wednesday morning.
Volunteer fire departments around the county helped residents sandbag their homes.