Thursday, September 18, 2008

Ike Immobilizes U.S. Midwest

"Ike leaves Midwest in the dark after rain, winds" by Kantele Franko, Associated Press Writer | September 17, 2008

CINCINNATI --Facing a third straight day without power, residents across the Midwest snapped up batteries, generators and coolers as they waited for crews to restore electricity knocked out by the remnants of Hurricane Ike.

In other parts of the Midwest, residents warily eyed rising rivers while other waterlogged communities began cleaning up the wet, stinky mess left behind by floodwaters. About 1.3 million homes and businesses in Ohio alone remained without electricity Tuesday, and long lines at supermarkets, hardware stores and gas stations were common.

Home Depot stores were short on generators, tarps, gas cans and other emergency supplies because some stock had been sent south to help with hurricane relief in Texas and Louisiana.

Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland toured wind-damaged sections of Cincinnati, Dayton and Columbus on Tuesday, a day after declaring a state of emergency. The governors of Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and Pennsylvania have also declared states of emergency.

The deluge of rain left road crews in northern Indiana working for a third straight day to pump water from swamped lanes of interstates. Other parts of the state were dealing with power outages caused by Ike's high winds. As of Tuesday, more than 100,000 Indiana homes and businesses remained without power.

Across Kentucky, power outages still affected nearly 300,000 customers, the state said, down from as many as 600,000 customers at the peak -- the state's biggest power outage on record. Downed lines also knocked out power in western Pennsylvania, where about 80,000 customers remained in the dark Tuesday night, utilities reported.

Across Illinois, officials said electricity had been restored to nearly all of the 49,000 left without power in the wake of the storm. Much of the Chicago area also was returning to normal Tuesday, as floodwaters began to recede. Ike had overwhelmed drainage and sewer systems in northern Illinois.

RECORD flood waters, may I add?

Elsewhere, some Illinois residents were waiting to return home. In Morris, about 100 people still couldn't reach homes in low-lying areas along the Illinois River, which hit a record when it topped 24 feet, or 8 feet above flood stage, Assistant Fire Chief Robert Wills said Tuesday.