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Archive for Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Flooding latest weather threat in Midwest

December 30, 2008

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— Utilities in Michigan scrambled Monday to restore power knocked out by a gusty weekend storm as rain and melting snow caused flooding there and in other parts of the Midwest.

Power was restored to about 80 percent of the 413,000 Michigan homes and businesses that lost service, according to the state’s utilities. Some could remain without power until Wednesday because of Sunday’s storm, which carried winds gusting more than 60 mph.

Nearly 60,000 customers from central New York to Buffalo also lost power Sunday as wind gusts as high as 75 mph brought down trees and utility poles there. About 4,400 New York utility customers remained without power Monday.

Flood warnings were posted throughout the Midwest as temperatures rose after a week of heavy snowfall. Forecasters said flooding was possible in areas of Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and northwest Ohio.

In Michigan, roads in some Ottawa County subdivisions were under 2 to 3 feet of water, while the first floors of some homes were flooded, National Weather Service hydrologist Mark Walton said.

Water overran banks in many areas of Illinois but had created only minor headaches Monday — a precautionary nursing home evacuation in Ottawa and a few scattered rural roads closed. More flooding was predicted later in the week.

In southeastern Wisconsin, the National Weather Service predicted the Fox River would crest about a foot over flood stage today in the town of Wheatland. In northwest Missouri, the Grand River reached nearly 9 feet above flood stage in places over the weekend.

Winter storm warnings were issued throughout the Northwest, which has been hammered by storms in recent weeks. The National Weather Service said northeastern Washington and the Idaho panhandle could expect 3 to 7 inches of new snow in the valleys, and 6 to 10 inches in the mountains through Monday evening.

Spokane, Wash., set a monthly record for snowfall, at 59.7 inches — surpassing a milestone set in 1950 — with yet another storm on Monday.

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