Torrential rain, wind and lightning rippled along a 1,000-mile atmospheric battlefront Thursday from Texas to Wisconsin, forcing hundreds of evacuations, washing out a bridge, eroding a highway and knocking radio and TV stations off the air.
The clash of warm air from the Gulf of Mexico with cool northern and western air brought reports of funnel clouds and flash flood watches across the nation's midsection. Tornado watches were in effect in 57 Texas counties, and a few funnels touched down but did no damage.
In Michigan, east of the aerial boundary, muggy heat threatened farm animals and caused a run on air conditioners as utilities generated record power output.
Oklahoma City Hit Hard
The Oklahoma City area was hit hard, with nine inches of rain falling Wednesday, sometimes at the rate of an inch an hour. Torrential rain hit for a 10th consecutive day Thursday, a 100-foot long bridge was washed out and reservoir floodgates were open to release rising water.