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Published: Monday, 12/29/2008

Minor Ohio flooding, power outages in Mich.


DETROIT Crews were working to restore electricity to nearly 200,000 Michigan homes and businesses early Monday, a day after strong winds knocked down tree limbs and power lines, while residents in parts of the Northwest braced for another winter storm.

Meanwhile, flood warnings were posted throughout the Midwest as temperatures rose after a week of heavy snowfall. Forecasters said flooding was possible in areas of Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and northwest Ohio.

The National Weather Service said minor flooding was occurring early Monday along northwest Ohio s Maumee and Portage Rivers. Flood warnings were posted, with the weather service saying the Maumee was likely to exceed its flood level by nearly 1 feet later in the morning.

Winter storm warnings were issued throughout the Northwest, which has been hammered by storms in recent weeks. The National Weather Service said northeastern Washington and the Idaho panhandle could expect 3 to 7 inches of new snow in the valleys, and 6 to 10 inches in the mountains through Monday evening.

In Michigan, winds gusting more than 60 mph knocked out power Sunday as temperatures dropped back into the 20s and 30s. Parts of the state also got about 4 inches of snow.

We ve had an intensifying storm system track northeast through the state, said Mark Sekelsky, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Grand Rapids. As that storm intensified, it brought the winds.

Detroit-based DTE Energy Co. said about 135,000 customers were without power early Monday, mostly in Wayne and Oakland counties, down from about 230,000 Sunday. DTE said some could be blacked out into Wednesday CMS Energy Corp. subsidiary Consumers Energy said about 183,000 of its customers lost power Sunday because of the winds and 62,000 remained blacked out early Monday. Consumers said all of its customers should have power by Wednesday.

Strong winds also gusted across upstate New York on Sunday, reaching 75 mph in the Buffalo area and toppling some power poles and trees. Nearly 16,000 customers lost power in five western and northern counties.

Melting snow and ice caused problems in the Midwest. In southeastern Wisconsin, the National Weather Service predicted the Fox River would crest about a foot over flood stage Tuesday in the town of Wheatland.

Amtrak canceled one train Sunday night and one Monday morning between Chicago and Grand Rapids, Mich., because of the weather, Amtrak spokeswoman Tracy Connell said.

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