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Thunderstorms In South, Flooding Eases In Midwest

May 12, 1996

Thunderstorms rolled across the South and through the upper Ohio Valley into the Northeast on Saturday, bringing winds that shut down part of a North Carolina airport and killed one boater.

Flooding forced new evacuations in Indiana, but rain stopped falling there and in other parts of the Midwest. Showers and thunderstorms developed during the morning across sections of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, and spread eastward into Georgia and the western Carolinas.

Another area of strong showers and thunderstorms extended across northern West Virginia and south-central Pennsylvania. Thunderstorms also moved across New Jersey and the New York City area during the late afternoon.

Violent winds and heavy rain hampered rescuers searching for the bodies of a couple whose boat capsized on High Rock Lake in Rowan County, N.C., officials said.

One victim was pronounced dead on arrival at a hospital, but stormy conditions forced rescuers to call off a search for the body of a second victim shortly before sundown.

Wind gusts as high as 62 mph ripped off aluminum roof panels from the top of a terminal at Raleigh-Durham International Airport. The airport canceled some flights.

In Indiana, flood warnings remained in effect Saturday along the Wabash, Muscatatuck, White, Kankakee, Yellow and St. Mary’s rivers in the northern part of the state and the Whitewater in the southeast.

``Our biggest problem is probably water coming out of fields and washing out county roads,″ said Steve Wettschurack of the Tippecanoe County Emergency Management Agency. The Wabash was expected to crest there at 5 feet above flood stage.

Thunderstorms on Friday had dropped up to 2 inches of rain within a few hours on parts of Indiana, and southern Illinois got as much as 6 inches in three hours, but the rainfall had stopped Saturday.

Early Saturday, however, residents of a mobile home court at Vincennes, Ind., were evacuated when a creek rose to their doorsteps.

They were allowed to return home three hours later, said fire department Capt. John Spangle. He said the court had 30 to 40 residents.

Indiana has suffered flooding for two weeks. On Friday, Gov. Evan Bayh asked President Clinton to declare 10 counties disaster areas.

About 200 homes were evacuated Friday in Villa Grove, Ill., but most people returned Saturday, said town treasurer Jacki Athey.

``There’s still a lot of water to go down before the cleanup can get totally under way,″ she said. ``But we’re doing some.″

Elsewhere, showers were widely scattered over northern Nebraska and southern South Dakota.

In the Northwest, intermittent rain was scattered over Washington state.

Saturday’s temperatures around the Lower 48 states ranged from a morning low of 21 at Park City, Utah, to an early afternoon reading of 93 at Palm Springs, Calif.

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