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Soggy Carolinas Mopping Up Hundreds Return To Homes After Storm Causes Flooding

The Carolinas mopped up, scraped up mud and chased out wildlife Monday after a weekend of flooding caused by the leftovers of Tropical Storm Jerry in which at least seven people drowned.

Hundreds of people had been forced to evacuate after the region was swamped by as much as 15 inches of rain. And while streams receded Monday in the foothills and mountains, rising rivers caused new flooding in low-lying areas downstream.

South Carolina’s Emergency Preparedness Division said about 100 homes were damaged by water in northwestern South Carolina. Gov. David Beasley flew over the area and said most of the affected homes had no flood insurance because flooding is more prevalent along the coast.

“It could’ve been worse. But, it was bad enough as it was,” Beasley said. He said the damage did not appear to warrant a federal disaster declaration.

One of those without flood insurance was Helen Owens, 62, whose mobile home sits just a few yards from the Saluda River. On Monday, a couch still bobbed in the water inside her home.

“Everything is gone,” said Owens’ son, Dennis, who helped her out by boat Sunday morning. “We were standing in water about knee-deep. We put everything up as high as we could get it, and that was it.”

Northwestern South Carolina got the heaviest rain, with 15 inches over the weekend at the Greenville-Spartanburg airport, the National Weather Service said. In western North Carolina, 11 inches of rain fell in 36 hours.

Two kayakers had to be plucked from a tree Monday after their boats couldn’t make it down the Haw River in Chatham County. At least one traffic death Monday was blamed on the rain.

Sunny weather was forecast for Tuesday.

Hundreds of people had to flee their homes during the weekend in North Carolina’s Charlotte, Chapel Hill and Robbins, including 123 residents of two nursing homes.

Water got up to 5 feet deep in the dining room of the Pigeon Creek restaurant in Raleigh, N.C., said owner Robert Watkins.

“It moved my ice machine and sent chairs through plate-glass windows. My fax machine is gone and my office is a total disaster,” he said.


STORMS CUT ELECTRICITY TO 100,000 A wave of thunderstorms cut electricity to about 100,000 Wisconsin customers Monday as it toppled trees, started fires and overwhelmed the Milwaukee sewage system. Milwaukee received .71 inches, enough to overwhelm the 400-million-gallon tunnel system designed to store runoff and raw sewage, sending the overflow spilling into waterways. About 10,000 customers, most in metropolitan Milwaukee, were still blacked out Monday night, said Wisconsin Electric Power Co. spokesman John Bartel. “This is the biggest storm to hit us in a long time,” Bartel said, adding more than 200 wires were down. “We had poles down, we had trees come down, extremely high lightning strikes.” The storm packed winds gusting up to 60 mph, strong enough to down trees in West Bend, in the southeast, where 1.1 inches of rain fell in 15 minutes.