Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Fierce storms ravage U.S.

Maybe it's just been a bad year for weather, but this sounds exceptionally bad. One wonders how towns and regional populations will deal with repeated onslaughts of weather like this. I've seen local flooding here in Marin County and the repercussions go on for years. And that's without any fatalities. the weekend storms, at least six people died in Oklahoma, including the wife of the chairman of the Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma and two other relatives, who drowned when their Dodge Caravan was swept away by swirling waters. Eight others died in Texas, including two in the collapse of a supermarket roof outside Houston.

In Minnesota, Gov. Tim Pawlenty declared a state of emergency on Sunday for six southeastern counties where heavy rain produced flash flooding and mudslides, washing out roads and bridges and sweeping away houses. Six people were reported dead as of Monday morning and a 37-year-old man was missing.

Eight to 11 inches of rain fell in Minnesota, and at least three towns were evacuated, emergency officials said, with national forecasters warning that showers and isolated thunderstorms “will irritate already high river and stream levels and flooded areas.”

On Monday, Gov. Mike Rounds of South Dakota also declared a state of emergency after finding that damage from heavy rainfall, flooding and hail was worse than originally thought. No lives were lost but about 50 homes were reported damaged.

In Winona County, Minn., where some county roads remained closed Monday, the Red Cross estimated that 6,375 families were affected by the storms.

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