WASHINGTON - The Midwest is just beginning to clean up and dry out today after powerful storms dumped as much as a foot of rain across several states in the last few days.
The rains brought heavy flooding and conditions so dangerous, it was hard to even try to rescue people trapped by the rushing waters.
In the Wake of the Storms
With a look at numbers associated with this week's storms - you begin to see just how devastating things can get after days of rain.
More than dozen people across the Midwest are dead and several others are missing.
Authorities say flooding claimed the lives of five people in Missouri alone where more than a foot of rain has fallen in places like Cape Girardeau, in the southwest section of the state.
Flood waters also overtook portions of Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky at record-levels, forcing hundreds of families to leave their homes.
"The water's all the way around us probably a foot and a half deep, maybe 2 feet, 3 feet in some places," said one Kentucky resident.
In Arkansas and Texas, swift water rescue teams searched for people swept away by rushing waters, with conditions so bad that it's been dangerous even for those doing the rescuing.
"The river current's real bad operating these boats back here. It's kind of slap water until you get in the mainstream of the river. And if you're not in control of your boat you can really get into trouble in a hurry," said Ohio fireman Greg Chetwood.
In Texas, strong winds snapped off rooftops and toppled trees onto houses.
"We all grabbed hands and ran to the closet," said one Texas woman. "All I could think to do was start praying."
Storm Affects Air Travelers
The storm didn't only halt ground travel. Air travel is slowly getting back on track, but only after the storm grounded or delayed hundreds of flights leaving thousands of passengers stranded.
Although most of the weather has cleared out and moved over the East Coast, record-level flood surges are expected this week.
President Bush has declared a major disaster in Missouri, where 70 counties and the city of St. Louis are eligible for emergency funding. And the tab to clean up the mess is likely to run in the millions.