Cristobal remnants bring thunderstorms, flooding, power outages to Midwest

MILWAUKEE -- The remnants of Tropical Storm Cristobal were moving out of the Midwest on Wednesday and into Canada, with gusty winds and heavy rain leaving behind flooding in Indiana, Wisconsin, Missouri and Iowa.

High winds brought down trees and left thousands without power in Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Nebraska. In rural Iroquois County, south of Chicago, a brief tornado was reported late Tuesday, the National Weather Service said. No injuries were reported.

In western Michigan, Hopkins Village President Terry Weik was taking down flower baskets from his porch Tuesday when the tree in front of his home started to fall toward him, WOOD-TV reported.

“The tree lifted up, it twisted, and it came at me so quick,” Weik said. It punched through the home’s roof, but no one was hurt.

The weather service issued a gale warning through Wednesday evening on Lake Michigan because of the possibility of strong winds creating waves of 6 to 10 feet (1.8 to 3.1 meters). Forecasters warned boaters, swimmers and paddlers to stay out of the water.

Scattered severe thunderstorms were possible Wednesday from Ohio and Michigan into parts of the Northeast, forecasters said.

The Indiana Department of Transportation reported some lanes of Interstate 80/94 in Hammond were flooded after heavy rains that the weather service said dumped 2 inches (5 centimeters) of rain in 30 minutes on parts of the Chicago metropolitan area. Hail up to 2 inches (5 centimeters) in diameter also fell in the area, the weather service said.

Storms moving ahead of a cold front also caused flash flooding in and around New Orleans and prompted the closure of a section of intestate highway. The state highway department said a portion of westbound Interstate 610 in New Orleans was shut down due to high water.

In western Wisconsin, the rain from remnants of Cristobal washed out portions of some roads. Heavy rain also hit Missouri and Iowa on Tuesday, filling creeks and causing scattered flooding. Some low-lying areas and streets in Iowa were under water Wednesday, following heavy rains.

In Nebraska, storms formed a weak tornado Tuesday evening that briefly razed farmland west of Fairbury in southeastern Nebraska, the weather service said. There were no reports of damage or injuries.

Cristobal's remnants moved into the Midwest after lashing the South. The storm weakened into a depression early Monday after inundating coastal Louisiana and ginning up dangerous weather along most of the U.S. Gulf Coast, sending waves crashing over Mississippi beaches, swamping parts of an Alabama island town and spawning a tornado in Florida.

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