The Heat Is Online

Minnesota Flash Floods Kill 20 People

Midwest struggles after deadly floods

 

Residents return to swamped homes; Texas scrambles ahead of Dean

 

The Associated Press, Aug 21, 2007

 

RUSHFORD, Minn. - All over southeastern Minnesota, surreal sights greeted the weary residents who returned to water-logged homes hoping to retrieve pets or medicine.

 

Orange Xs marked buildings that had been searched for survivors. Canoes lay in the streets. At a campground in Houston County, picnic tables hung from trees.

 

Storms in the Midwest and the Plains over the weekend flooded streams and roads, caused a sewage treatment systems to overflow in Iowa and left one town temporarily cut off in Missouri. At least 20 people died in three states, six of them in Minnesota.

 

The remnants of Tropical Storm Erin swamped buildings in Oklahoma, leaving six dead there. In Texas, eight deaths were blamed on the storm, and authorities were scrambling to recover before Hurricane Deans heavy rain slaps the state.

 

More storms on Monday brought wind gusts of up to 82 mph and golf-ball sized hail to Nebraska. Trees and power lines were down and substantial street flooding was reported in Fremont and Omaha. Thousands of people were without power.

 

In Minnesota, a dive team and a National Guard helicopter searched for Jered Lorenz, 37, whose overturned car was found lodged in the rocks along a creek near Lewiston.

 

Residents retrieve pets, clothing, medicine

 

Fifteen miles to the south of there, the National Guard controlled access to the city of Rushton, escorting residents in Monday just long enough for them to grab pets, clothing, medicine and other emergency supplies.

 

Mud several inches deep covered the streets in parts of Rushford, and some sidewalks had collapsed. Just 24 hours earlier, there had been water in the streets.

 

Some people had to cut holes in their roofs to get out, the water was so deep, said Jack ODonnell, chief deputy with the Fillmore County Sheriffs Office.

 

City administrator Windy Block said residents may be allowed back for good Tuesday if electrical power is restored and the storm sewer works.

 

She estimated that at least a third of the towns 1,800 residents suffered flood damage from the flooding of Rush Creek, which divides the town.

 

'I lost everything'

 

Hundreds of people fled their homes in southwestern Wisconsin as the deluge turned the countryside in Vernon, Crawford and Richland counties into bogs, drowned crops and strained dams nearly to the breaking point. Damage estimates hit nearly $30 million and were expected to keep climbing.

 

Mason Evans Jr., in Gays Mills, Wis., said the storm left 8 feet of water in his house. It broke me, Evans said. I lost everything.

In northeast Ohio, heavy rain caused Wolf Creek to overflow its banks, flooding streets and buildings. The ground floor of a housing complex for senior citizens was flooded, and about 70 residents were evacuated.

 

In all, about 200 people in the Akron suburb were evacuated due to high water, and most went to stay with friends or relatives, Barberton police Chief Mike Kallai said. No injuries were reported.

 

© 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved

 

Four die in Minnesota floodwaters

 

Deluge traps victims in cars in southeastern part of state, authorities say

 

The Associated Press, Aug 19, 2007

WINONA, Minn. - Severe storms deluged parts of the Midwest during the night with as much as a foot of rain, causing flooding that washed away bridges and roads and killed at least four people, authorities said Sunday.

 

Part of Winona and smaller towns in the area were evacuated, officials reported.

 

Rushing floods in southeastern Minnesota killed two people in their vehicle near Stockton and two others in a vehicle near Witoka, said Bob Reinert, the Winona County administrator and spokesman for the countys emergency operations center. Authorities initially said a fifth person had died but Reinert said that fatality could not be confirmed.

 

They apparently just drove off the edge of the pavement, and with the floodwaters just were unable to get out of the vehicle, he said.

Across the Mississippi River in southwestern Wisconsin, up to 12 inches of rain triggered a mudslide that pushed a house onto state Highway 35 in Vernon County, said Wisconsin Emergency

Management spokeswoman Lori Getter. No injuries were reported.

 

Theyve been pulling people out of stalled cars, and evacuating them out of their homes, Getter said, adding that the Wisconsin National Guard had been put on standby.

 

Nursing home evacuated

The Pine Valley West Nursing Home in the Richland Center area of Wisconsin was evacuated, its 18 patients taken to another nursing home, she said. Six patients were moved out of another nursing home in the region.

 

Numerous roads and bridges were washed out and closed in both states Sunday.

 

Several towns were evacuated officials said.

 

In our situation weve evacuated the city of Stockton, which is probably the hardest hit, Reinert said in Minnesota. Other small cities were also evacuated as well as low-lying portions of Winona, he said.

 

Residents of downtown Gays Mills, Wis., were taken to a fire station, and a state of emergency was in effect there.

 

Five cars of a 65-car train derailed outside Goose Island, Wis., and the surrounding area was evacuated, Getter said.

 

The rain was produced by a band of strong storms that stretched across parts of Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, northern Illinois and southern Michigan into Ohio. Parts of northern Iowa had minor flooding, with no reports of injuries or deaths, officials said Sunday morning.

 

© 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved