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SHAKE AND BLOW
23 dead in West Virginia floods
by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) June 25, 2016


Johnson scrapes in as UK's EU vote hit by downpours
London (AFP) June 23, 2016 - Torrential rain and flooding left people racing against the clock to vote in Britain's EU membership referendum -- with chief Brexit campaigner Boris Johnson only just making it in the nick of time.

Johnson, the former London mayor, made it to his local polling station in the capital with just 18 minutes to spare after his flight back from Edinburgh was delayed due to the foul weather in southeast England.

Two London polling stations were forced to close due to flooding, with parts of Britain deluged as voters chose whether the country should stay in the European Union or leave the bloc.

The two polling stations in the leafy southwestern suburb of Kingston-upon-Thames had to move due to the flooding.

"There has been heavy rainfall overnight which has resulted in flooding at a number of polling stations," said Kingston Council, giving details of the changes.

Meanwhile a polling station in Barking in east London was shut due to a burst water main and relocated to a site nearby.

One polling station in Dover on the southeast tip of England suffered a power cut due to storms and ran on a generator.

The rain and flooding disrupted train networks in southeast England, leaving many commuters in a race against time to get home and cast their ballots before polls closed at 2100 GMT.

Several stations on the London Underground train network were shut. The Waterloo and City Line, nicknamed "The Drain", was completely suspended.

"We're working to clear the water as quickly as possible so that services can return to normal," said a Transport for London spokesman.

By 2000 GMT, the Environment Agency for England and Wales had 10 flood warnings still in place, meaning flooding was expected and immediate action required.

There were a further 33 lesser flood alerts, all in the southeast and east of England.

Some 14 flood warnings and alerts were stood down in the preceeding 24 hours.

Flooding in the US state of West Virginia killed 23 people and stranded others who had to be plucked from rooftops and rescued from fast-moving waters, state officials said Friday.

"The damage is widespread and devastating. Our focus remains on search and rescue," Governor Earl Ray Tomblin told a news conference after floods caused by a day of heavy rains.

"I had planned to fly around the affected areas myself today but wasn't able to, because all state aircrafts are currently being used for rescues," he said.

Tomblin gave a death toll of 14 from the disaster, but later Friday Jessica Tice, with the state's Homeland Security and Emergency Management office, told AFP that the toll had reached 23.

The dead included an eight-year-old boy who was swept away while walking along a creek bank with his mother and sister, local news station WSAZ reported. His body was found after three hours of searching.

At least six counties have extensive structural damage and about 66,000 people were without power, the governor said.

US Senator Shelley Moore Capito said that she had been in touch with the White House about getting a disaster designation for the affected areas.

"We're pushing for the federal declaration -- I can't imagine that we won't get it," she told CNN.

"We had a call today with FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency). They're moving some of their assets in over the weekend," she said.

About 200 National Guard members had fanned out in eight counties to assist local responders and 17 shelters were open for those whose homes were damaged or destroyed.

About 500 people were stranded overnight inside a shopping mall in Elkview, near the capital Charleston, after a bridge leading to the main road was washed away, ABC News reported.

News station WCHS/WVAH posted a video on its Instagram account showing a house in flames being carried away by muddy floodwaters in the small city of White Sulphur Springs.

A Twitter account for news and events in the town of Spencer, West Virginia, posted dramatic images under its handle @Spencer_Daily.

One series of photos showed a man in chest-high water using a rock to smash the windows of a vehicle whose occupants were trapped inside.

Another set of photos showed a woman who had caught a giant trout with her hands while standing on a two-lane road amid stopped traffic.


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