September 16, 2008

Midwest Cleans Up, Assesses Storm Damage

Calm weather is expected, allowing cities to mop up after deadly storms pushed through the U.S. Gulf Coast to the Great Lakes, forecasters said.

High pressure building over the country this week should result in the calm conditions over most of the United States, reported. Spotty showers and thunderstorms were expected in the South.

In the Midwest, however, communities were still staggered Tuesday after weekend storms belted the region, leaving 17 dead and more than 2 million customers without power, The New York Times reported.

The storm -- a product of the remnants of Hurricane Ike joining a low-pressure front during the weekend -- produced wind gusts of up to 81 mph in Ohio, touched off five tornadoes in Michigan and dumped as much as 10 inches of rain in parts of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Missouri, the Times said.

Officials in the states caught in the storm's path blame Ike for at least 39 deaths, a figure likely to change as search-and-rescue operations continue, reported.

Illinois Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich declared seven counties disaster areas after rainfall forced at least 200 Illinois residents into temporary shelters. Chicago set an all-time daily rain record Saturday with 6.64 inches.

In Indiana, rains swelled rivers and wind damaged trees and buildings, the Times reported. A portion of Interstate 80/94 on the Indiana-Illinois border remained partly closed Tuesday due to flooding.

More than 40 state and country roads in Missouri were closed because of flooding and officials said more problems could be on the horizon.