FRANKLIN, Ind. - Severe storms crippled central Indiana with as much as 10 inches of rain yesterday and spawned tornadoes that ripped up roofs and flipped tractor-trailers in Wisconsin and the Chicago suburbs.
The floods in Indiana threatened dams, inundated highways, and forced the Coast Guard to rescue residents from swamped homes. To the northwest, Chicago-area residents ran for cover as tornadoes touched down throughout the region.
Wisconsin had a few minor tornado injuries, and at least one injury was reported near Chicago. Indiana had been spared any reported deaths or injuries due to flooding.
"At this point, mercifully, we believe all Hoosiers are secure," Governor Mitch Daniels said at a news conference.
Daniels declared an emergency in 10 counties as the Coast Guard was called in from the Great Lakes to help with flooding that has forced hundreds of people from their homes.
Ninety percent of the small town of Paragon, southwest of Indianapolis, was underwater, said State Homeland Security director Joe Wainscott.
Water reached the first floor of Johnson Memorial Hospital in Franklin, but no patients had to be moved, county Commissioner Tom Kite said, and cars were submerged up to their windshields in the county government building parking lot. "We have dams failing in the Prince's Lakes area," threatening the town of Nineveh, about 30 miles south of Indianapolis, Kite said.
Near Chicago, Will County Sheriff's Department spokesman Pat Barry said a tornado damaged several homes in the Wilmington area and toppled trees and power lines. A person was injured on Interstate 57 in the southern suburbs, and a swath of the major highway closed.
Tornadoes were also reported in Lake County, north of the city, and in Livingston County, to the southwest.