Feb. 22 (UPI) — Hundreds of people in the South and Midwest have evacuated their neighborhoods, due to snow-melt floodwaters that have so far led to the deaths of three people.
The floods were brought on by heavy rains in some parts and fast-melting snow in others, forecasters said. Emergency responders are performing water rescues from Texas to Michigan, where roads are shut down, schools are being canceled and some homes are turning into islands.
Lansing, Mich., declared a state of emergency Wednesday ahead of expected flooding. City officials there recommended that those living in flood zones to evacuate by early Thursday afternoon.
“While the rain has stopped, we are expecting significant flooding in certain areas of the city,” said Lansing Mayor Andy Schor. “Declaring a State of Emergency allows us to have all hands-on deck to proactively provide the necessary information and resources to protect our residents.”
A state of emergency was also declared in Clare County, Mich.
In Will County, Ill., a woman was found dead Tuesday after her car rolled into a rain-soaked ditch and became submerged. Wednesday, two died — including an Oklahoma man whose vehicle was swept off a bridge in Adair County, and a 1-year-old toddler drowned in a back yard in Montalm County.
In Chicago, residents near the Illinois River were told to evacuate at least through Thursday.
In Dallas, residents near White Rock Creek needed rescue as water levels quickly rose late Tuesday — and many roads were flooded in the Wylie area.
Rescue crews also were searching for occupants of a white car that was swept down the Trinity River Wednesday. The search was later suspended due to the river’s current strength.Power outages in Texas totaled more than 21,000 as of Thursday morning.
In Arkansas, more than a dozen students were rescued Wednesday after their school bus ran off the road and became stuck in rising waters.
Rescuers in Indiana used boats to help residents escape flooding in Elkhart County. A tweet from the state’s transportation department warned drivers to not go through barricades.
In the town of Wyoming, Mich., a train derailed due to a washed-out track, injuring two.
Forecasters say flash flooding will persist in many areas through the end of the week. Also, they said snow accumulations and ice will cover the central Plains, Midwest and Great Lakes on Thursday and Friday.