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Downpour slams Indiana as storm system heads for East Coast

INDIANAPOLIS/CHICAGO - The torrential rain that has brought flooding to the Chicago area afflicted neighboring Indiana on Friday, closing schools and roads in the northern and central part of the state.

Storms dumped more than four inches in parts of Indiana on Friday, and the National Weather Service has issued a flash flood warning for most of the state.

See flood coverage from

"Numerous homes are underwater or flooded, stranding homeowners and their families," said Deputy Chris Burcham of the Boone County Sheriff's Department, northwest of Indianapolis. The county declared a state of emergency on Friday morning, asking that residents restrict travel.

Rain and thunderstorms will continue to push eastward from the Appalachians to the coast on Friday, becoming more extensive from New York City to Philadelphia, Washington, and Atlanta during the afternoon and evening hours, according to The storms could disrupt evening baseball games -- reported that a White Sox-Twins game was canceled because of cold, windy weather sweeping in.

Barge shipping was halted Friday on the Illinois River and the Mississippi River from central Iowa to northern Missouri because the flooding forced the closure of several locks until at least the middle of next week, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said.

Eight Mississippi River locks, from Lock 15 at Rock Island, Illinois, to Lock 22 at Saverton, Missouri, and four Illinois River locks were closed. One of the Illinois River locks at Marseilles, Illinois, was shuttered after nine barges broke loose from a tow late on Thursday and struck the dam there. 

The Chicago area, which got three to seven inches of rain over 24 hours on Wednesday night and Thursday, continued to struggle on Friday with flood waters blocking suburban arterial streets.

Chicago-area residents trying to clean water and rubbish out of flooded basements this morning woke to temperatures that had fallen from the 60s on Thursday to the 30s, with snow flurries.

"The main thing for today is the blustery chill," said Elliot Abrams, an meteorologist, in a broadcast on the website. "It feels like early March or late February instead of late April." But he said there would be little precipitation over the next few days, helping the Chicago area to dry out.

The heavy rains on Wednesday and Thursday fell on already soaked ground. The recent storm brought April rainfall to just under 8 inches at O'Hare International Airport, making for the third-wettest April to date on record, according to the WGN's Chicago Weather Center. reported that major and record river flooding will continue through Saturday from northeastern Missouri through central and northern Illinois to southern Wisconsin. 

-- Reuters