MONTICELLO, Ind. – Flooded rivers began withdrawing Wednesday across a swath of northern Indiana where three people were killed and hundreds of homes were damaged as melting snow and heavy rain swelled rivers during an unusual January warm streak.
Five deaths were blamed on flooding and tornadoes across the Midwest on Tuesday, the second day of severe weather fueled by unseasonable temperatures. Tornadoes also blew through several states Monday and Tuesday. Two of the victims were young siblings.
Water had started receding along Indiana's Tippecanoe River, which had risen to record levels along a 20-mile stretch, but numerous roads were still blocked by water in the Monticello area, said White County emergency management director Gordon Cochran. He had no immediate estimate for how many homes were damaged.
"We're hoping that by midafternoon it's going to start going down enough that we can get to some of these places," Cochran said.
Elsewhere, as remnants of the storm system moved eastward, thunderstorms early Wednesday knocked out electricity to more than 100,000 homes and businesses in western New York. Gusts up to 85 mph were clocked at the Thousand Islands Bridge in northern New York, the National Weather Service said.
An empty U.S. Airways regional airliner briefly lifted off the ground at the Rochester, N.Y., airport as wind gusted to 75 mph. The 50-passenger aircraft's tail and front landing gear were damaged, airport officials said.
The same system produced wind gusts to 63 mph during the night in Ohio, where at least 50,000 customers were blacked out Wednesday morning.
Flood warnings remained in effect Wednesday in parts of Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan and Missouri, the weather service said.
A tornado that hit Appleton, Ark., on Tuesday rolled a mobile home off its foundation, killing a man and injuring his wife. The trailer appeared to have rolled for 50 yards before smashing against a stand of trees in the rural area about 60 miles northwest of Little Rock.
"The tornado hit and ... it looked like his house pretty much exploded," Pope County Sheriff Jay Winters said. "It was taken completely off the blocks and just tore to pieces."
Kirk Killins, his girlfriend and his father were heading toward his parents' house and storm cellar when his truck was halted by the tornado's wind.
"I had it floored and it wasn't doing nothing. I looked to my right and the hay barn and shop just disappeared," Killins said.
Killins said one of his family's cows survived although the storm "probably carried her about three-quarters of a mile."
Tornadoes were confirmed or reported Monday in Wisconsin, Arkansas, Illinois, Oklahoma and Missouri, where two people were killed.
Six snowmobilers were rescued elsewhere in southern Colorado on Monday after they were missing for 2 1/2 days, and two snowboarders were rescued Tuesday in northern New Mexico after they spent three nights in snow caves.