Recent heavy rains have slammed the Alabama coastal areas, causing city and county leaders in several areas to step up preparations.

The National Weather Service said rain was falling at a rate of as much as 3 inches an hour.

The southern counties of Alabama had a flash flood warning Thursday, followed by an aerial flood advisory. Floodwaters covered roadways.

The Baldwin County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) is offering self-serve sandbags. The county offers the sand, but residents must bring their own bags and tools.

On Dauphin Island, things were not much better. Vehicles were causing boat-like wakes on roads on the popular destination spot. Dauphin Island has already been plagued with beach erosion over the years, and the island's west side is always on high alert when storms come through.

Some schools in Mobile closed early Thursday because of the flooding and power outages.

The rain Thursday followed rain showers Wednesday in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi. A flood watch continues through 6 p.m. Thursday.

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