At least 16 dead in U.S. Midwest flooding

09:22, August 25, 2007

Nearly a week of heavy rain and devastating flooding across the U.S. upper Midwest has damaged hundreds of homes and has been blamed for at least 16 deaths, U.S. media reported Friday.

Most of southern Iowa was on flashflood watch through Friday evening as up to 20 cm of rain fell, the National Weather Service said.

The 25,000 residents in Ottumwa, a town in southern Iowa, were asked to conserve water as all the rain had backed up sewers and flooded a pump room at the local water plant, The New York Times reported.

A sudden thunderstorm with 112 kph winds slammed into the Chicago area Thursday evening, tearing down huge trees and damaging buildings. In the suburbs, part of an industrial facility's roof collapsed, injuring 40 people, and a tornado was reported as the storm moved into Michigan, the Times said.

Early Friday, another band of thunderstorms was dumping more rain along a line from southern Iowa into Wisconsin.

About 310,000 homes and businesses in northern Illinois and 115,000 in Michigan were without power after the storm hit.

About 500 flights at O'Hare International Airport were canceled Thursday evening and others delayed for more than two-and-a-half hours, Chicago Aviation Commissioner Nuria Fernandez said.

Strong winds knocked down a hangar under construction at the Gary/Chicago International Airport leaving just "a pile of metal," Gary Jet Center president Will Davis told the newspaper.

More rain was predicted into Friday across much of the region, but clearer skies were expected in many areas by Saturday, the National Weather Service said.

Source: Xinhua

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