Eintime Conversion for education and research 10-14-2009 @ 19:49:41
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Three weeks that changed the Midwest

Near-record snowfalls this winter and heavy rains this spring have saturated the ground and swelled rivers across the upper Midwest.

Floods in Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana have forced tens of thousands of people from their homes, caused billions of dollars in damage, drowned vast fields of farmlands and strained the patience of people across the heartland. It will take months — if not years — to recover.

The roots of the Midwest flooding began this past winter, when 16 U.S. states from the Plains to New England endured one of their wettest winters ever recorded. By the end of the winter, seasonal snowfall was among the heaviest in 113 years of record-keeping for several Midwestern states. Cities such as Dubuque, Iowa, and Madison, Wis., set records for snowfall.

The spring continued the wet pattern in the Midwest. Five Midwestern states (Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, Illinois and Indiana) experienced one of their wettest springs in 114 years. While the Midwest counts on frequent spring rains for a successful growing season, this spring's rainfall, on top of melting snow from the winter, proved to be too much of a good thing.

After record and near-record snows hit Iowa over the winter, the Hawkeye State was the bull's-eye for June rainfall. Flooding that started back in March worsened after heavy June rains forced streams and rivers out of their banks.

(Original Len: 1672 Condensed Len: 1939)

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