July 26, 2010 / 12:37 AM / 9 years ago

Storms continue amid flood cleanup

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Large swathes of the United States suffered another day of extreme weather on Sunday, with hot temperatures in the nation’s capital and Southeast coastal areas giving way to thunderstorms later in the day.

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

Powerful thunderstorms stretched through the states of Delaware, Maryland and Virginia on the Atlantic Coast, Accuweather said.

There were numerous reports of damage from wind gusts of up to 70 miles per hour across the mid-Atlantic, including in Gaithersburg, Maryland and Allentown, Pennsylvania.

Temperatures reached close to 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 Celsius) in some parts of the Carolinas and Virginia during the afternoon, but storms in the region sent the steamy temperatures plunging. In Wilmington, Delaware, the temperature dropped 17 degrees in 15 minutes.

In Milwaukee, where heavy rains shut the city’s main airport on Thursday night, the body of a 19-year-old man who disappeared on Thursday evening as floodwaters peaked was 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 city 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 not expected to be significant. Rain at this time of year is a major benefit to maturing corn and soybeans.

Chicago’s extensive rail and bus network operated normally again. Many roads closed by the storm on Saturday, including a major freeway serving the populous western suburbs, re-opened.

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

In Iowa, National Guard units, called in to help after a dam broke on Lake Delhi, finished their work and left the area, a spokesman for Gov. Chet Culver said.

Hundreds of people evacuated their homes on Saturday along the river near the towns of Monticello and Hopkinton after the Lake Delhi dam breach. 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 was spending Saturday at the Great Jones County fair in Monticello, a town of about 3,600 people.

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

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

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