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Flash flooding in Massachusetts town leaves residents trapped, submerged vehicles as more rain expected across swaths of southeast New England

Dangerous flooding in the city of Leominster, Massachusetts, has trapped residents, submerged vehicles and sent water gushing through the streets as storms bring the threat of flooding across portions of the Northeast, officials say.

Leominster, a city in central Massachusetts about 40 miles northwest of Boston, is under a local state of emergency due to flooding “all over the city,” Mayor Dean Mazzarella said in a Facebook post on Monday.

Heavy rains that began Monday and are expected to continue across western portions of Massachusetts overnight have prompted flood or flash flood warnings in the area through Tuesday morning, according to the National Weather Service. The region had seen between 6 to 9 inches of rain as of Monday night.

“Life-threatening” flash flooding was expected across the impacted parts of Massachusetts as well as portions northeastern Connecticut and Providence, Rhode Island, the agency said, noting as many as 8 inches of rain had fallen around Providence by Monday night.

In Leominster, videos posted on social media show vehicles submerged by dark flood waters on a highway. Elsewhere, footage shows emergency vehicles and other drivers trying to navigate a street overtaken by rapidly-moving water as rain continues to fall. Another video shows water filling a gaping sinkhole in the middle of a street lined with houses.

Fire crews from the nearby town of Hubbardston responded to Leominster to assist with emergency response and reported that several people had been trapped in the area.

Schools in the area will be closed Tuesday due to the flooding, Leominster Public Schools announced.

The mayor urged residents to remain inside and avoid venturing out.

“Trust me when I tell you, if you do not have to go out – don’t,” Mazzarella said in a Facebook live stream Monday evening, “There are very few streets that aren’t flooded.”

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