Flooding, tornadoes in US Midwest, storms continue

* Chicago hit with 7.5 inches (19 cm) of rain in past day

* Severe weather in Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Iowa

By James Kelleher

CHICAGO, July 24 (BestGrowthStock) – Powerful storms spawned by
intense heat and humidity produced flooding and tornadoes in
the Midwestern United States on Saturday, disrupting travel and
cutting power to thousands of homes.

The National Weather Service said more than 7.5 inches (19
cm) of rain — the amount the city would see over two months
during a normal summer — fell at Midway Airport in Chicago in
the past day.

“A large area is being impacted by this system,” said Jack
Hales, a weather service forecaster based in Norman, Oklahoma.

“But some of the heavier rain totals … have been in
Chicago. The water content in the atmosphere is very high.”

The National Weather Service issued severe weather alerts
for many areas in Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Iowa and
Minnesota, and flood watches for dozens of counties.

Forecasters said a similar weather pattern was developing
in Pennsylvania and New York, where a rare tornado watch was
issued late on Friday for New York City and northern New
Jersey.

The Illinois Department of Transportation said the
Eisenhower Expressway, which connects Chicago with its western
suburbs, was closed by flooding just after dawn. The Chicago
Transit Authority said service was disrupted on at least half
of its train routes and many buses were rerouted.

About 50,000 customers were without power in northeastern
Illinois on Saturday, the utility Commonwealth Edison said.

In Iowa, a tornado touched down late on Friday near the
town of Indianola in central Iowa, damaging property but
causing no injuries.

Dan Sheets of the National Weather Service said that over
the last three days, six to 10 inches (15 to 25 cm) of rain had
fallen in the northeastern corner of Iowa.

Wisconsin governor Jim Doyle declared a state of emergency
on Friday after torrential rains flooded homes and opened
sinkholes in Milwaukee and closed the city’s main airport.

Investing Advice
(Additional reporting by Kay Henderson in Des Moines, Iowa,
and Karl Plume and Andrew Stern in Chicago; Editing by Jerry
Norton and Will Dunham)

Flooding, tornadoes in US Midwest, storms continue