Flooding in Midwest, New Storm in Northwest
Undated (AP) _ Flooding forced evacuations and closed roads Sunday in Indiana and Ohio, and a new storm headed into wind-ravaged Washington state with a threat of snow and high wind.
Highways were icy across parts of the Plains and towing services were kept busy with cars that wouldn’t start or stay on the road.
″We’re getting three to four times the normal number of calls,″ said Mark Moody at Oklahoma City’s AAA.
Since the start of the season’s first strong cold wave on Dec. 18, at least 99 deaths, including 20 in Texas, have been attributed to the weather.
Temperatures dipped to numbing lows again Sunday, including a record 23 below zero at Scottsbluff, Neb., 30 below at Rapid City, S.D., a record for the whole month of December, and an unofficial 40 below at Porcupine, S.D. Even Honolulu joined in with an untropical record low of 57.
Some church services were canceled around Mitchell, S.D., which hit 24 below, said J.P. Skelly of station KORN in Mitchell.
Temperatures have dropped below freezing nightly for close to two weeks in many areas of California. Sacramento has had a record 11 consecutive nights with freezing temperatures.
″It’s all people are talking about. It’s affecting everyone. People are losing their jobs over it,″ said Lori Segrue, who works at a vineyard in Kingsburg, south of Fresno.
California Gov. George Deukmejian declared a state of emergency in the Santa Cruz Mountains where public water systems were shut down by the cold.
Officials said water service had been restored to all but about 10 percent of the San Fernando Valley’s 5,000 customers by Sunday morning. Broken pipes, which caused most of the trouble by draining storage tanks, will have to be repaired before service is fully restored.
Some agriculture experts estimate that the cost of the state’s crop damage caused by freezing weather could total $1 billion.
Two North Dakota farmers, Clarence Campbell, 79, and his brother William, 77, were found dead near their farmhouse at Eckelson Saturday after apparently attempting to walk across a field to a relative’s house and being overcome by the bitter cold, authorities said. Temperatures dropped to a record 37 below in the area at the weekend.
Two days of heavy rain combined with melting snow to push streams out of their banks in many areas around Indiana. Scattered evacuations were reported in several communities, including Indianapolis. Countless roads were closed by high water, officials said.
Indiana Emergency Management Director Jerry Hauer said he was concerned that rivers were still rising and had not crested yet. Additional rain, sleet and snow fell Sunday.
″I’d say we’ve got a pretty serious situation on our hands,″ Hauer said.
The flooding will grow worse later in the week, said Al Shipe, a National Weather Service hydrologist in Indianapolis.
The Mississinewa River was forecast to crest 5 feet above flood stage for its worst flooding at Marion since 1958, and Indianapolis was due to receive the highest levels along the White River since 1964, Shipe said.
″It’s very grim right now,″ said sheriff’s Deputy Ken Lopez in Delaware County, Ind.
Dozens of residents were evacuated in two northern Ohio towns because of high water. Delphos police and fire departments ordered at least 80 people to leave two trailer courts. Near Cleveland, 30 to 50 people were evacuated along the Chagrin River, said Willoughby Hills Fire Department Lt. Sandra Thorne.
In the Northwest, battered by high wind Friday that damaged coastal property and knocked down trees and power lines, the weather service issued another winter storm warning for the Puget Sound area and upgraded a storm watch to a storm warning for north-central and northeastern Washington.
Repair crews worked over the weekend to shore up sea walls that were undercut by Friday’s storm.
The storm also knocked out power to about 150,000 utility customers from Puget Sound to the British Columbia border. By Sunday morning, Puget Power Sound and Light Co. still had about 16,800 customers without electricity, said spokeswoman Jude Noland.
Parts of Arkansas got combinations of heavy sleet, light snow and some thunderstorms Sunday morning. Benton County had the heaviest accumulation with 4 to 6 inches of snow and ice and roads there and elsewhere were slippery.
Ice buildup knocked tree limbs into power lines and caused hundreds of new power outages, said Jerol Garrison, a spokesman for Arkansas Power and Light. He did not yet have exact numbers. That utility’s crews already were working overtime Sunday to repair damage from an ice storm Thursday.
An Arctic cold front swept into Texas on Sunday, plunging temperatures below zero, glazing highways and forming thick fog that slowed holiday traffic. Amarillo had a record 1 below.