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Eastern U.S. grapples with rain, flooding; Western U.S. bakes

  |   July 3, 2013 at 1:09 AM
ALBANY, N.Y., July 3 (UPI) -- Many of the same communities in upstate New York devastated by Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee in 2011 are flooded again, the governor said.

"It is no exaggeration to state out citizens are reeling from the physical, emotional and economic toll of the past two years, while the state is still grappling with the lingering effects of Superstorm Sandy and Winter Storm Nemo," Cuomo wrote in a letter to President Barack Obama asking him to declare a major disaster for the state of New York as a result of severe storms and major flooding June 27-28 and July 1.

Cuomo deployed 250 National Guard members to help residents and businesses in the upstate areas affected by the flooding.

The Salvation Army has opened several shelters and is providing thousands of meals and snacks across the state. However, thousands who have been displaced have not been staying in the shelters.

One of the areas hardest hurt is the Village of Mohawk -- population 3,500 -- in central New York. There is no power because the electric substation is flooded with 10 feet of water, the water system is contaminated and many were forced to leave their homes including the residents of a senior assisted living center.

Many of the residents of the eastern part of central New York told the media they have lost everything -- again. Many said they had recently completed replacing moldy drywall and installing new floors and carpeting to lose it all again in the last series of storms.

Cuomo placed the need for federal aid in the billions. There had been an initial estimate of $13 billion, but Cuomo said the number would most likely increase because many of the areas flooded the worst had not been accessible to survey the damage.

Meanwhile, the western United States experienced dangerously hot temperatures.

The excessive heat wave that gripped Western states since late last week was expected to last another day at least for chunks of California, Nevada and Arizona through Independence Day, CNN reported. Parts of the three states all saw temperatures top 120 degrees in the past few days.

The intense heat wave across much of the West will provide some relief for the Pacific Northwest, but the soaring temperatures in the West will last through Wednesday, the National Weather Service said.

With the threat of heat stroke or heat exhaustion striking within minutes, hundreds of Las Vegas residents sought relief in a Salvation Army cooling shelter, CNN said.

"Not only do they get ... the benefit of the water that we put out, but they can also take showers, if they need to, in here for free," Andre Ingram of the Salvation Army said.

The extreme heat also hampered efforts to corral Arizona's Yarnell Hill wildfire, which killed 19 elite firefighters Sunday and has blackened more than 8,400 acres, officials said.

The most widespread showers and thunderstorms on Thursday will be from the central Gulf Coast northward into the Ohio River valley. Due to the south-to-north trajectory of the showers and thunderstorms tracking over the same areas, there is a slight risk of excessive rainfall and flash flooding across much of the Southeast through Wednesday, the weather service said.

In addition, temperatures will begin to rise across the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions.

© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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