Lightning forks over St. Joseph's Catholic Church as severe storm cells move through Hays, Kansas, on Tuesday
HUTCHINSON, Kansas (AP) -- Torrential rainfall hit parts of the Plains and Midwest, flooding towns in Kansas on Thursday, toppling trees and power lines and pelting the countryside with hail.
Some central Kansas towns recorded as much as 7 inches of rain -- in some places up to 2 inches per hour -- starting Wednesday.
The deluge closed dozens of roads, some flooded for the second time in three weeks, said Dean Speaks, deputy emergency management director for Saline County.
"It's taken out the roads that we fixed (after the first flooding)," Speaks said. Numerous government facilities, homes and businesses in the Salina area were flooded.
Everyone in the Saline County towns of Bavaria and Hedville -- about 80 people -- evacuated their homes overnight. Fifty homes in Ogden, near Fort Riley, were being voluntarily evacuated as area creeks rose.
In Hutchinson, many motorists had to be helped from their cars as water flooded streets.
"In some places, there are people with water up to their porches," Hutchinson Fire Chief Kim Forbes said. Fire trucks were used to help move people to higher ground or to shelters.
The storms also spawned tornadoes and funnel clouds, but no significant tornado damage was reported. Toppled trees and power lines were reported in Minnesota and Wisconsin.
The National Weather Service posted a flood warning for the Big Nemaha River in southeastern Nebraska. It was expected to crest 3 feet over flood stage late Thursday evening or night, and rain was forecast through mid-afternoon.
Copyright 2007 The Associated Press.