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12/28/2008

Summerlike Storms Pound Midwest

Summerlike storms pounded the Midwest on Saturday with hail, high winds and even funnel clouds, helping to thaw the ice after days of a deep freeze and threatening floods. Residents braced for an aftermath forecast expected to include overflowing rivers and flooded basements. Flooding was also being fueled by unseasonably high temperatures that climbed into the 60s in Illinois. A powerful storm system swept across a wide swath of south and central Illinois during the afternoon, packing wind gusts of 60 to 70 mph. The storms also produced hail, and the Weather Service office in St. Louis received reports of funnel clouds. The storms damaged buildings and brought down tree limbs and power lines. Meteorologists said the melting snow, heavy rains and frozen ground could combine to flood areas where high water is RARE. "The potential exists for serious and potentially life threatening flooding to develop with some areas that typically do not flood, possibly even becoming inundated with water." 2008 has been THE WETTEST YEAR ON RECORD for the city of Chicago, with just under 50 inches of precipitation. 
Image: Adam Koehl, 11, of Boy Scout Troop 56, moves a sandbag while he and other scouts from various troops help fill some 2,400 sandbags at the Campton Township Highway Department in Lily Lake, Ill.
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