Powerful storms in cause damage, flooding in Midwest

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Several hundred people evacuated their homes early Thursday in the small western Wisconsin community of Arcadia as heavy rain sent a creek over its banks.

The waterlogged city was among those affected by more widespread storm damage and flooding in Wisconsin and Minnesota that closed roads and triggered mudslides. Thunderstorms in Iowa produced a possible tornado that caused heavy damage to buildings in a city near the Mississippi River.

In Wisconsin, several hundred people in the Trempealeau County city of Arcadia voluntarily evacuated flooded neighborhoods and the downtown area beginning about 2:30 a.m., Mayor Robert Reichwein told The Associated Press. The evacuation included the overnight shift at Ashley Furniture, a major manufacturer in Arcadia, a city of 2,900 people about 45 miles (73 kilometers) north of La Crosse.

Reichwein said Turton Creek overflowed its banks, also flooding the city’s main thoroughfare, Highway 95. The Red Cross set up a shelter at a church for evacuees.

Elsewhere in Wisconsin, a mudslide closed part of Highway 95 near Fountain City. Numerous roads in Vernon and Buffalo counties were also affected by flooding.

In northern Iowa, powerful storms damaged homes, buildings and crop fields. The National Weather Service said wind gusts to 75 mph and heavy rain were reported Wednesday evening in several locations, and a tornado was reported 2 miles (3 kilometers) west-southwest of Fort Atkinson. No injuries were reported.

Residents and officials said trees and power lines were knocked down, leaving hundreds of people without electricity. Officials say the city of McGregor was particularly hard hit, sustaining damage to City Hall and several other structures downtown.

Authorities say a semitrailer was toppled on Interstate 35 near Hanlontown, and a man was taken to a hospital in Waukon after his barn blew over, pinning him inside until rescuers arrived.

In Minnesota, officials say mudslides or flooding have made parts of some highways impassable, including Interstate 90 and Highways 16, 26 and 61 in Winona and Houston counties. Forecasters say up to 7 inches (18 centimeters) of rain fell overnight, triggering a flash flood warning.

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