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MEXICO CITY (AP) _ A severe rainstorm in the western state of Michoacan on Wednesday caused flooding and prompted two lions at a local circus to escape their cages, civil defense authorities reported.

It was unclear how the two lions, property of the Hermanos Rodriguez Ayala circus, escaped, but they apparently became upset by the storm and leapt from their cages.

The lions caused panic among residents before police and circus workers subdued and returned the animals, the government news agency Notimex reported.

About 50 people were left homeless when their wood and cardboard shacks collapsed or were flooded by the strong rains and heavy winds near Cuitzeo, a lakeside community 135 miles west of Mexico City.

Those affected by the storm were lodged in a temporary shelter at the town hall.