U.S. News

Heat wave, storms continue amid flood cleanup

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Large parts of the United States faced another day of extreme weather on Sunday, with temperatures in the capital and on the Southeast coast forecast to be near or above 100 degrees F (38 degrees C) and more storms likely in the mid-Atlantic and Ohio Valley regions.

A tourist mops the sweat from his brow as he stands in the heat outside the White House in Washington, July 24, 2010. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

“It’s going to be another steamy day in the Southeast with thunderstorms to the north,” AccuWeather said on its website.

Powerful thunderstorms will stretch from the Delaware, Maryland and Virginia region on the Atlantic Coast into Kentucky, Accuweather said.

In Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where heavy rains shut the city’s main airport on Thursday, local media reported the body of a 19-year-old man who disappeared as floodwaters peaked had been recovered from a creek.

Many Midwest cities and states were dealing with the aftermath of heavy flooding on Friday and Saturday. But the task of cleaning up was made a little easier by clearing skies and moderating temperatures and humidity across the region.

Chicago’s beaches remained closed for a second day due to possible water contamination after the rains overwhelmed the sewer system and overflows were released into Lake Michigan.

Half a dozen areas in Illinois, including northern sections of the city, remained under flood warnings.

Damage to crops and livestock in Illinois, Iowa and other key agricultural areas of the Midwest Corn Belt was still being assessed but was not expected to be significant. Rain at this time of year is a major benefit to maturing corn and soybeans.

Chicago’s rail and bus network was running normally again. Many roads closed by the storm on Saturday, including a major freeway serving the populous western suburbs, were reopened.

More than 7.5 inches of rain -- what Chicago sees in two months during a normal summer -- fell at Midway Airport on Friday and Saturday.

In the south and southeastern United States, the last remnants of Tropical Depression Bonnie dissipated over the Gulf of Mexico, giving way to clear skies and allowing workers responding to the oil spill to resume work.

In Iowa, Governor Chet Culver activated the National Guard after issuing a disaster declaration for inundated areas along the Maquoketa River. He urged anyone along the river or in low-lying areas to evacuate.

Hundreds of people evacuated their homes along the river near the towns of Monticello and Hopkinton after a breach of a dam at Lake Delhi. Boats, trees, propane tanks and power lines all crashed though the dam.

“I bumped into my neighbor and he’s like ‘We’re being evacuated, you need to get home and get your stuff,’” said Arian Jenkins, who spent Saturday at the Great Jones County fair in Monticello, a town of about 3,600 people.

Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin and Minnesota were among other states given severe weather warnings by the National Weather Service over the weekend, with flood watches issued for dozens of counties.

Reporting by Ryan Schlader in Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Kay Henderson in Des Moines, Iowa; Karl Plume, Andrew Stern and James Kelleher in Chicago, and Jerry Norton in Washington; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Peter Bohan