SAO MIGUEL, Azores (AP) _ Heavy rains on Tuesday left three people dead, several injured and 15 families homeless as floods swept away houses and bridges on this mid-Atlantic Portuguese island, officials said.

Regional government spokesman Carlos Muniz said flood waters destroyed 15 homes, four bridges and 50 cars, sweeping many of them into the sea. Telephones, electricity and water supplies were cut and roads blocked in the worst-hit areas, he said.

Rescue service officials said flood waters drowned an elderly woman and her daughter in their home in the southeastern coastal village of Faial da Terra, the most severely damaged community on Sao Miguel, the largest of the nine islands in the Azores archipelago. They identified the victims as Maria do Carmo Raposo Aleixo, aged 78, and her daughter Maria do Carmo, 55.

One man, Joao de Deus Pacheco, was killed when a bridge collapsed and his truck plunged into a river, officials said.

Fire service officials said rescue teams were building makeshift bridges to reach the town of Nordeste in the northeast that was cut off from the rest of the island by the destruction of two bridges.