Indiana hit hardest as storms pummel Midwest

Wednesday, September 3, 2003

Storms that washed out Labor Day picnics and parades continued to soak parts of the East on Tuesday as rescuers resumed searching for three motorists swept away by flash floods.

Wet weather delayed the U.S. Open in New York on Monday and drenched Indiana and Kansas, where at least five deaths were blamed on flash floods.

The National Weather Service warned of continued thunderstorms and possible flash flooding in parts of the Midwest and Northeast.

Crews in Kansas resumed searching for the mother of four children who drowned when the family's minivan was swept off a highway by a flash flood. Another motorist also was missing in the same area.

On Monday, authorities found the body of an 18-year-old who attempted to wade in a swollen creek in Overland Park, Kan., a suburb of Kansas City.

Another motorist was missing in Indianapolis after being swept away while driving over a creek.

Small boats ferried Indianapolis residents from homes isolated by flooding, and water was up to 3 feet deep in parts of a mobile home park on the city's northeast side.

At Ace Hardware in the Indianapolis suburb of Carmel, there was a holiday run on sump pumps, sand bags and drain pipes. "We thought we'd be selling grills today," said employee Mike Ellis.

Indianapolis collected 7.2 inches of rain Monday, breaking a 108-year-old record of 6.8 inches in a calendar day. As much as 9 inches fell elsewhere in Indiana.

"It's the first time I've seen it come down like that," said Bonnita Megginson, whose car was one of several flooded at an apartment complex on the west side of Indianapolis.

Forecasters issued flood warnings Tuesday for 35 Indiana counties and said thunderstorms would continue in some areas through Thursday.

Steady rain around Ohio canceled parades statewide and an air show in Cleveland.

Monday's rain extended into New York City, delaying tennis at the U.S. Open for more than four hours. Showers were scattered in the area again Tuesday morning.

Elsewhere, the rain-laden remnants of Tropical Storm Grace streamed across eastern Texas, causing scattered street flooding but no major problems.

Grace was the third storm to hit Texas this season. Hurricane Claudette came ashore in July, killing two people and causing an estimated $90 million in damage. A month later, Tropical Storm Erica moved ashore near Brownsville, bringing heavy rain to the Rio Grande Valley.

In Hawaii, Tropical Storm Jimena missed the southern edge of the Big Island by about 140 miles Monday after being downgraded from a hurricane. The storm continued to weaken Tuesday in the open Pacific.

Several beaches were closed Monday because of rough surf and rip currents. Power outages blacked out several thousand residents.

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