Archive for Thursday, June 12, 2008

Twisters add to misery in nation’s sodden midsection

As rising floodwaters of the Des Moines River approach a closed downtown bridge, a thunderstorm crosses Des Moines, Iowa, dropping more rain on Wednesday. The rising river will cause severe flooding in downtown Des Moines and other parts of the capital metro area. More rain is expected through today. Flooding is also ravaging other parts of eastern Iowa, while tornadoes raked the western part of the state on Wednesday night.

As rising floodwaters of the Des Moines River approach a closed downtown bridge, a thunderstorm crosses Des Moines, Iowa, dropping more rain on Wednesday. The rising river will cause severe flooding in downtown Des Moines and other parts of the capital metro area. More rain is expected through today. Flooding is also ravaging other parts of eastern Iowa, while tornadoes raked the western part of the state on Wednesday night.

June 12, 2008

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The storm system that produced the tornado that hit a Boy Scout camp in western Iowa also spawned twisters in southern Minnesota and eastern Nebraska.

A tornado ripped a house from its foundation, leaving a bathtub protruding from a back wall near Fulda, Minn., 140 miles southwest of Minneapolis. A woman inside at the time suffered a knee injury.

Another struck a farm near Springfield, Minn., causing extensive damage to outbuildings.

Other tornadoes in Minnesota damaged trees, pushed a manufactured house off its foundation and knocked down outbuildings.

In North Dakota, strong winds closed a highway and even sent a cow into the air, a witness said.

The straight-line winds estimated at more than 70 mph destroyed a barn near Valley City, N.D. Elva Dittmer, 83, said she was looking out the kitchen window during the storm and saw what she thought was a cow flying 10 feet through the air. Her son Ronald Dittmer, who owned the barn, said one cow was injured and another had to be euthanized.

"I've never seen it before and I hope I never see it again," Elva Dittmer said.

From Wisconsin to Missouri, officials in the storm-ravaged Midwest on Wednesday were fortifying levees with sandbags, watching weakened dams and rescuing residents from rising water.

But Iowa was bearing the brunt of it. Inmates in black-and-white striped uniforms were rescued from a jail by boat as the raging Cedar River flooded Vinton and forced evacuations in Waterloo.

"Everything is flooded - everything is up to knee-high," said Patrice Calhoun, of Waterloo, Iowa, who rolled up her pants and waded through water to get home Wednesday morning.

Officials in Wisconsin were monitoring dams, while high water in Indiana burst a levee, flooding a vast stretch of farmland.

Along the Mississippi River in Missouri and Illinois, the National Weather Service was predicting the worst flooding in 15 years. Outlying areas could be inundated, but most of the towns are protected by levees and many low-lying property owners were bought out after massive flooding in 1993, officials said.

On the East Coast, officials revealed the weekend heat wave had claimed 17 lives. Most victims were elderly.

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