Floods closed roads and forced hundreds from their homes as a winter that has been marked by record cold and heavy snow took an abrupt turn, setting records with summerlike temperatures over the eastern quarter of the nation Sunday.
In Manchester, Mich., an earthen support to a concrete dam crumbled, and residents in downriver communities scrambled for sandbags before the water receded, officials said.
Water surged downstream after the 20-foot-wide support, which connected the 75-foot-wide Norvell Dam to the bank of the River Raisin, caved in, Jackson County Sheriff's Sgt. Thomas Love said.
Fog Blamed in Five Deaths
Streams were out of their banks from Oklahoma to New York state, and high water took at least three lives.
Meanwhile, dense fog was blamed for five deaths in traffic and plane accidents in Michigan.
Temperature records melted on the East Coast. The 80 degrees at Roanoke, Va., was the highest on record there for the month of February, and Worcester, Mass., had its warmest February day at 71 degrees.
Records also were set in New Jersey, Maryland, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Delaware.
Some rivers in Indiana were heading for their highest levels in nearly 30 years, the National Weather Service reported, and officials called for volunteers to fill sandbags.
Storms Hit Gulf Coast
Showers and thunderstorms peppered the coastal region of the Gulf of Mexico, and rain extended across eastern Arkansas and central Tennessee north to the Great Lakes and northern New England.
Flooding in north-central Indiana, especially along the Wabash River, "will be the worst it's been in 20 to 30 years," weather service hydrologist Albert Shipe said.
One man drowned near Peru, Ind., when his pickup went out of control in standing water and landed in a swollen creek.
Water was receding in western New York state after heavy rain forced 500 to 600 families from their homes at Silver Creek, south of Buffalo, police dispatcher William Howard said.
Dry weather moved into Oklahoma after three days of rain, and some of the hundreds of persons evacuated from their homes began returning.
In Missouri, authorities recovered a car that had been swept into rain-swollen Indian Creek on the south side of Kansas City and found two bodies.