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Dozens Flee in Indiana as Rains Pressure Dam

from United Press International

Pounding rains swamped the Midwest and Great Lakes states Sunday, sending rivers over their banks in Wisconsin and Ohio and forcing evacuation of parts of Rochester, Ind., where officials worried that a dam might not hold.

At the same time, flash flood warnings were lifted in northeast and east central Ohio and in West Virginia, where storm systems dispersed and weakened during the late morning.

Fulton County sheriff’s deputies at Rochester, in north central Indiana, evacuated 28 patients from Woodlawn Hospital and about 50 residents of Waterhaven, a senior citizens’ center, as a precaution in case the Lake Manitou dam failed.

Water was spilling from the lake and officials estimated that if the dam should break, floodwaters would rise to six feet deep within about 30 minutes.

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Meanwhile, in Wisconsin, about 1,500 people were allowed to return to their homes at Tomah. Fear of dam breakage there caused their evacuation on Saturday.

Tomah Fire Chief Tom Flock said the dam held, although Tomah Lake had overflowed when more than eight inches of rain fell Saturday morning. About 250 homes near the lake were flooded, streets were in disrepair and damage was estimated at $3 million, Flock said.

A series of thunderstorms pushed through northern Illinois early Sunday and low-lying areas were flooded as the storms swept into Wisconsin. In Chicago, floodwaters were receding, and the carp that swam across Higgins Road on Saturday night returned to Higgins Creek on Sunday.

Southern Minnesota and northern Iowa also received heavy showers. Scattered storms hit parts of Oklahoma and Texas, where severe weather was reported southeast of Childress.

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In Ohio, slow-moving storms dumped up to two inches of rain on some areas in less than two hours, and some low-lying areas near Akron and Cleveland were flooded. Near Ashland, thunderstorms brought damaging winds, frequent lightning and heavy rains that overwhelmed drainage systems.


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