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After wet weekend, tornadoes, floods seen across Midwest

After wet weekend, tornadoes, floods seen across Midwest

WICKED WEATHER:A bolt of lightening strikes near the top of the Willis tower in downtown Chicago, Monday, June 30, as rain and high winds were moving into Illinois from Iowa. Some flights are canceled at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport as northern Illinois braces for severe weather. Photo: Associated Press/Kiichiro Sato

By Carey Gillam and Brendan O’Brien

(Reuters) – A strong storm front that proved deadly in Iowa moved through northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin on Monday, bringing with it hurricane-force winds and thunderstorms that damaged homes and took down trees and power lines.

The National Weather Service issued thunderstorm and flash flood warnings west of Milwaukee and Chicago as storm spotters reported 70 mph winds and baseball and golf ball-size hail that pelted parts of Iowa earlier on Monday.

One person was killed in Linn County, Iowa, the sheriff’s office said, where storm spotters reported a building collapse in heavy winds that also snapped limbs and downed trees.

Heavy rains and strong gusts flood streets and downed trees and power lines in several communities in central Wisconsin, but did not cause major damage or injuries, said Tod Pritchard, a spokesman for the Wisconsin Emergency Management department.

“Some of storms have been very powerful,” he said.

Tornado warnings were issued for several counties in central Wisconsin, but no tornado touched down, Pritchard said.

Parts of Northern Illinois and the Chicago area where under tornado and thunderstorm watches and warnings with strong winds and as much as 1 inch of rain expected, the National Weather Service said.

More than 182,000 households in Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin lost power during the storms, according to power companies in the region.

The storms canceled more than 200 flights and delayed another 600 flights at O’Hare International Airport, according to Flightaware.com.

“The main threat has been widespread damaging wind. We’ve had some significant gusts,” said Greg Dial, a National Weather Service meteorologist.

The storm is expected to reach into Indiana and Michigan on Monday evening, Dial said.

The National Weather Service reported golf ball-size hail that broke windows and damaged cars in Adair, Iowa, and baseball-size hail in Warren, Iowa on Monday.

The storm came on the heels of heavy rain on Saturday and Sunday that caused flooding in several states, officials said.

Eastern Iowa received 2 to 5 inches (5 to 12.5 cm) of rain, and on Saturday night into Sunday morning parts of Eastern Arkansas and western Tennessee received 10 inches (25 cm) of rain, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

More than a dozen reports of tornadoes were received on Sunday in Missouri, Kansas, Iowa and Wisconsin, said Patrick Marsh, a meteorologist with NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center.

(Reporting by Carey Gillam in Kansas City and Brendan O’Brien in Milwaukee; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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