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    Flash flood warning issued around Boston metro area

    The National Weather Service has issued flash flood warnings for several Massachusetts counties into early morning Wednesday.

    A thunderstorm that has moved toward Boston from the Northwest prompted an alert at about 10:30 p.m.

    The flash flood warning is issued for Suffolk County, Southeastern Middlesex County, Northeastern Norfolk County, and South Central Essex County. The warning lasts until 12:30 a.m., the weather service in Taunton said.

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    Areas just west of Boston have received heavy rainfall this evening, with 1 to 2 inches of rain having already fallen, according to the weather service alert. The thunderstorms and rain are expected to move into the Boston metropolitan area, “resulting in urban flash flooding,” the alert said.

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    The heaviest rain will be in southwest neighborhoods of Boston, especially Dorchester and Brookline, said Rebecca Gould, a weather service spokeswoman.

    Motorists are asked not to drive through flooded areas and to find alternate routes. Residents near small streams are advised to find higher ground, as flash flood warnings indicate “rapid and potentially life threatening flooding,” according to the weather service.

    “The difficulty at night is you can’t tell how deep the water is,” said Gould. “It does not take much to flood the engine and stall your vehicle,” she said.

    The storm is not an uncommon event during this time of year, said Gould.

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    “It’s just a thunderstorm,” she said. “There will be heavy rain and the rainfall will be quick.”

    Jennifer Smith can be reached at jennifer.smith@globe.com.