7 killed, 1 missing in Midwest storms
Flooding forces hundreds to flee their homes
INDIANAPOLIS - Fierce weekend storms with tornadoes and heavy rain pounded the Midwest, where at least seven people were killed, many buildings were damaged, and hundreds of people fled their homes because of flooding.
Rescuers in boats continued to pluck people from rising waters in Indiana yesterday, a day after more than 10 inches of rain deluged much of the state.
In Iowa, pumps and thousands of sandbags were sent to the Iowa City area, where officials fear a reservoir could top a spillway and flood the city of about 63,000 by tomorrow.
The Indiana flooding killed at least one person, a man who drowned in his vehicle about 50 miles south of Indianapolis, the state Department of Homeland Security said. Another person was reported missing after falling off a boat on Mill Creek, about 30 miles southwest of the capital.
In Michigan, two delivery workers for The Grand Rapids Press drowned early yesterday when their car became submerged in a creek that washed out a road near Lake Michigan in Saugatuck Township.
Two other people in the state were killed by falling trees, one man drowned, and a woman died when high winds blew a recreational vehicle on top of her, authorities said.
At least one tornado hit the Omaha area with little to no warning as people slept yesterday morning, damaging several dozen homes and businesses. No major injuries were reported.
Paul Higgins, 87, said the front door blew open and he was knocked down when he checked on the storm about 2:30 a.m. "It was like a fog. So much stuff blowing around," he said.
Higgins said he and his wife sought shelter in their basement, emerging to find a tree against a house across the street and a house missing its roof.
Iowa saw some of its worst flooding in more than a decade, Governor Chet Culver said as he declared a state of emergency in nearly a third of the state's 99 counties.
A levee broke along the Winnebago River in Mason City, and its water treatment plant was shut down.
Officials said water levels on the Iowa River at Iowa City could be like those during the historic floods of 1993, which put much of the state underwater.
In areas of Minnesota near the Iowa border, officials asked residents in the Winnebago Valley to leave. In Wisconsin, houses near the swollen Kickapoo River in La Farge were evacuated.
The Indiana Department of Homeland Security said 23 of the state's 92 counties were declared disasters. Officials said hundreds of people evacuated from houses and hospitals in western Indiana.
In Morgan County, southwest of Indianapolis, about 150 residents were taken out of a flooded nursing home.
Flood waters moving south toward the Ohio River led officials to move more than 250 patients and staff from Columbus Regional Hospital in southern Indiana.