Mexican officials declare flooding emergency in 3 states

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Federal officials declared emergencies in three northern states Friday as heavy rains from a tropical depression caused flooding that killed at least three people.

The Interior Department initially declared a state of emergency for 11 municipalities in Sinaloa state, where the deaths were reported. Later in the day, it extended the declaration to 11 municipalities in Sonora state, which borders the U.S. state of Arizona, and two in Durango states.

Government officials issued a warning Friday night urging people to stay alert. It also warned that intense storms were possible in the states of Jalisco, Michoacan and Guerrero farther south and said the northern states of Coahuila, Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipas could see strong storms.

The tropical depression moved into the area early Thursday and dumped as much as 14 inches (35.9 centimeters) of rain in just 24 hours, overflowing storm drains.

Images in local and social media showed streets in Sinaloa turned into raging rivers, swamping cars. The newspaper El Universal posted video of an SUV being swept along in Guamuchil as passengers scrambled to get onto its roof.

Soldiers deployed in heavy trucks to pick up stranded residents and carry them to safety. The Sinaloa state government said more than 2,000 people had evacuated and 13 shelters were set up.

In a statement early Friday, Sinaloa state Attorney General Juan Jose Rios Estavillo said one person drowned and two were killed by electrocution. Three women were missing in Culiacan, the state capital, after presumably being swept away.