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7/09/2007

Flooding joins blizzards and tornado for a rough first half of 2007

Photo: Raging flood waters are shown racing from the spillway of Lake Palestine into the Piney Woods near Bullard, Texas on Sunday July 8, 2007. The U.S. Geological Survey web site was reporting that following the prolonged rains that Lake Palestine was more then 4 feet over the spillway. (AP Photo/Dr. Scott M. Lieberman)

WICHITA, Kan - The first half of 2007 has been one to forget for many Kansans as blizzards, deadly tornadoes and now flooding have caused millions of dollars in damage, disrupted lives and put a dent in the state's economy.
Of the state's 105 counties, only three - Marion, Atchison and Jefferson - have escaped being designated a disaster area by local, state or federal officials this year.
"We are beginning to wonder what has brought Kansas to the focal point" of severe storms, said Sharon Watson, director of public affairs for Kansas Emergency Management. "We have certainly gotten every type of storm you can have, with the exception of hurricane, and we hope we don't have one of those."
State officials are still tallying the damage from last week's floods, which affected 20 counties in southeast Kansas. So far, emergency management personnel have identified about 3,100 homes destroyed or heavily damaged in five counties, with a dollar figure to be determined later.
Winter storms that crippled western Kansas earlier this year and a rash of spring tornadoes, including one that largely destroyed Greensburg, have caused more than $1 billion in damage already, with the state spending at least half that for recovery efforts.
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