More than 1,000 evacuate in Midwest

Flooding reported in some of the same areas hit in June as the worst flooding in decades hits some communities.

BY VICKI DESORMIER | September 15, 2008

The worst flooding in more than 130 years slammed Chicago Sunday while in Kansas, residents watched the worst floods in a decade begin to recede.

With much of the rest of the country focused on the devastation of Tropical Storm Ike, the remnants of a Pacific storm, Tropical Storm Lowell, hit Midwest communities with near record rain.

According to the National Hurricane Center, flood and flash-flood watches were posted for parts of Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and Michigan.

In south-central Kansas flood warnings were issued for five rivers including the: Chikaskia, Walnut, Cottonwood, Whitewater, Arkansas and Little Arkansas. Flooding in Wichita, KS, occurred after the most rain ever recorded in a 24-hour period (10.31 inches) fell in the city on Friday. At one point 25 percent of the city was under water.

Flooding struck parts of Illinois on Sunday. More than 1,000 people voluntarily evacuated their homes in the Chicago area as nearby creeks and rivers overran their banks. At least four deaths were reported.

In the western Chicago suburbs more than 700 people left 11 apartment buildings along Salt Creek and about 100 homes were evacuated in Des Plaines.

Andy Ervin, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service said flooding shouldn't approach problematic levels in most of Iowa. But in southeastern Iowa, Kansas, Illinois and Missouri the story could be different. Flooding in those areas may be devastating.

"With the ground already saturated from recent heavy rains, additional heavy rain may lead to rapid runoff and possible flash flooding," Ervin said. "With the water going up so quickly in the creeks, streams and main rivers, flooding will be possible."

By the wee hours of Sunday morning, emergency management and law enforcement officials were reporting widespread flooding across much of northern Illinois and extreme northwest Indiana. State and federal officials were concentrating on getting people from their flooded homes and to safe locations.

In Chicago, officials have asked Gov. Rod Blagojevich to issue a disaster declaration so they can get aid to assist with the flood damage.

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