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Wild weather batters country

Flooding, tornadoes, mudslides, hit communities from Utah to Maryland.

BALTIMORE | June 21, 2009

Tornadoes damaged homes from Kansas to Maryland while flooding forced more than 1,000 concertgoers to abandon their cars and residents in Utah filled sandbags to help keep water and mud out of their homes this weekend -- as the first day of summer and a wild weekend of severe weather came to a close.

Late Sunday, tornado warnings were still posted in the Midwest and heavy rain and winds pelted portions of New England.

The worst of the rain hit western Michigan Friday night. Mark Dekelsy of the National Weather Service told reporters that the five to eight inches of rain that fell near Holland, MI, Friday is typically seen just once a century.

The rain washed out roads, flooded homes and caused other damage. Local Emergency Management officials said they expect to ask for a federal disaster declaration.

In Ionia County, MI, more than a thousand concertgoers had to abandon their cars when the Grand River blocked park exits. Emergency officials said about 100 people stayed in a nearby shelter Saturday night. Emergency officials said Sunday it might be Wednesday before all of the cars can be removed from the local fairgrounds.

Flooding also damaged homes in Jeannette, PA, last week. The western PA town was last hit by major flooding in 1985. Saturday found residents breathing a sigh of relief when a flash flood warning was lifted without doing more damage.

According to the National Weather Service, at least three twisters damaged homes in Michigan Saturday night, while another damaged homes and businesses along a narrow, five-mile path in southeastern Baltimore County, MD, Saturday afternoon.

Emergency officials in McPherson, Kansas, said high winds and a possible tornado damaged homes and businesses and may have contributed to the death of a motorist. At least two tornadoes were also reported in northern Iowa Sunday night, but no damage was initially reported.

A mudslide also damaged a home in Draper, Utah. Residents there were filling sandbags Saturday in an attempt to prevent more mudslide damage. Wildfires in the Corner Canyon area last year made the area vulnerable to mudslides.

According to the National Weather Service, at least three twisters damaged homes.


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