Midwest Pounded by Rain, Snow

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More rain and snow is forecast for a large swath of the Midwest, where 16 people have died in this violent spring weather.

ANDREA SEABROOK, host:

Here in the United States, rain and snowstorms have taken at least 16 lives in the past week. And the nasty weather isn't done yet.

NPR's Wade Goodwyn reports.

WADE GOODWYN: Mother Nature dressed up in her Easter finery this week, and it wasn't a pretty sight. Hundreds of flights were canceled at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport when the region was drenched by as much as seven inches in just a few hours. Yesterday, it was the Upper Midwest's turn. Twelve inches of rain came down in 36 hours in some places. Chicago got socked with snow. Milwaukee's airport got hit so hard by snow it was forced to close. Nathan Marsili with the National Weather Service says a stationary front developed that had a 30-degree temperature difference from one side to the other.

Mr. NATHAN MARSILI (Meteorologist, National Weather Service): And with that temperature contrast comes different moisture contrasts, too, and the warmer air can hold a lot more water. And that's why we've seen so many flooding problems down south of our area here in Chicago. Or to that front, we had a snow develop, and we had a disturbance come out of northern Missouri, which enhanced the snow during the afternoon, and that's what resulted in the heavy snow across southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois. We had some locations in the northern suburbs of Chicago - received around a foot of snow.

GOODWYN: In Missouri, streams and rivers overflowed their banks and inundated homes, businesses and interstates. In Valley Park, Missouri, residents watched their newly built levee warily to see if it would hold. But this morning, the river crested still several feet below the top, and it appears Valley Park will be safe. But many others in Missouri weren't so lucky and were forced to abandon their flooded homes. Mike Parker is the federal coordinating officer with FEMA.

Mr. MICHAEL PARKER (Federal Coordinating Officer, Federal Emergency Management Agency): Yeah, the big thing right now is just the flooding. We have people who have been evacuated from their homes, and road closures and those kinds of things. And so, for right now, you know, the state is focused on providing things to protect lives and protect property.

GOODWYN: Seventy counties in the city of St. Louis have been declared by President Bush as major disaster areas.

Wade Goodwyn, NPR News, Dallas.

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