GRAY — Heavy rain expected to hit the state Tuesday into Wednesday has prompted the National Weather Service to issue flash flood watches for much of Maine.

Showers, thunderstorms and heavy downpours are in the forecast Tuesday into Wednesday, according to the weather service, and 1 to 3 inches of rain can be expected.

The weather service said the alerts remain in effect through Wednesday night. Rapid rises on small rivers and streams throughout the state are possible.

Areas affected include Androscoggin, Cumberland, Waldo, York, Kennebec, Franklin, Oxford, Piscataquis, Penobscot, Aroostook, northern Washington and interior Hancock counties.

Residents should be advised and prepared to take action should flash flooding occur.

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