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Flooding swamps Tampa streets, strands drivers | News

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Flooding swamps Tampa streets, strands drivers
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TAMPA, Fla. -- Just before the height of the afternoon rush hour on Tuesday, torrential rains flooded much of Tampa. Reports came in of streets underwater from Bruce B. Downs to Florida Avenue and south to Dale Mabry and Bayshore Blvd.

The storms also knocked out the power for more than 2,000 Tampa Electric customers.

Photo Gallery: Rain and flooding in Tampa Bay

At its peak, 4 feet of water covered the intersection of South Dale Mabry Blvd. at Henderson. Many drivers thought their cars could make it through, but many couldn't.

One woman stranded in floodwater told 10 News, "It looked like this was higher ground, so I aimed for it [but then] water came inside the car, yeah."

Don Cornwell also stalled out in the rising water on South Dale Mabry. "I was going through, and I almost made it to the high ground, and a big truck came from the other side and made this huge wake, and this wake just covered my car. My hood was underwater."

Cornwell had to wait two and a half hours for a tow truck, because towing companies couldn't keep up with the number of cars getting stuck underwater. One tow truck driver told us he was working on his 10th stalled car in two hours. He says, "It's like this every time it rains like this."

With the wait for a tow over three hours in some cases, some people resorted to pushing their cars off the flooded streets by foot. "My car was starting to get water in the backseat, so I climbed out the window. So, myself and this other fellow, we helped push each other out here to dry ground."

Cleveland Street also had six inches of water on the road.

The flooding was so bad at the intersection of 50th and Adamo, water stalled engines of large trucks much higher off the ground.

Tampa Police also shut down Bayshore Boulevard north of Rome Avenue during the afternoon commute because the road started to look more like a river.

Most of the flooding had subsided by 6 p.m., but some streets remained closed well into the evening.

Follow 10 News Reporter Chase Cain on Twitter @chase_cain

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