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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Wildfires worsen in Colorado, 32,000 flee homes + Storm batters Florida

Wildfires worsen in Colorado, 32,000 flee homes | Reuters

(Reuters) - A wildfire raging near some of Colorado's most popular tourist sites grew suddenly more ferocious on Tuesday, forcing 32,000 people from their homes, prompting evacuations from the U.S. Air Force Academy and swallowing numerous houses at the edge of Colorado Springs.

From the vantage point of a command post about 10 miles from the path of advancing flames, the entire community of Mountain Shadows, a northwest subdivision, appeared to be enveloped in an orange glow after dark.

"This is a fire of epic proportions," Colorado Springs Fire Chief Rich Brown said as ash drifted down on the city, sirens wailed and the thick smell of smoke permeated the air.

Debby's deluge: 2 feet of rain, thousands flee floods

2012 sets record for most named storms so early in Atlantic season

River flooding form Tropical Depression Debby -- downgraded from a tropical storm late Tuesday -- forced up to 20,000 people out of their homes in one Florida county alone, while another area had already seen more than 26 inches of rain, topping the official forecast calling for up to 25 inches in a few areas by the time Debby moves out.
In Pasco County near Tampa Bay, a mandatory evacuation was ordered between the Anclote and Pithlachascotee rivers, Reuters reported. The Anclote rose from 9 feet before Debby's approach to more than 27 feet on Tuesday, flooding areas with water head-high in places.
Boats were used to reach stranded residents, and 106 homes had been damaged.
Wakulla County, meanwhile, has seen more than 26 inches of rain, said in a Twitter alert Tuesday morning. Authorities there advised people to stay in their homes due to washed out and flooded roads.
Flash flood warnings were issued for parts of northern Florida and southern Georgia as Debby moved eastward. By midday, Debby picked up speed to 6 mph and winds had dropped to 40 mph, but that didn't stop the rain.
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