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Airport reopens in flood-soaked Milwaukee

By the CNN Wire Staff
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Flooding closes Milwaukee airport
  • NEW: About 2,000 customers without power
  • One runway is reopened at international airport
  • Lightning strikes and rescues are reported

(CNN) -- One of two main runways at the international airport in flood-soaked Milwaukee, Wisconsin, reopened Friday afternoon.

The storms and high waters inundating the city forced evacuations and led to a couple of rescues, city officials said Friday.

Authorities said there appear to be no serious injuries or deaths in Wisconsin's largest city, but the inconveniences and damages are significant. The city was bracing for more rain Friday night.

Flash flooding occurred Thursday evening as severe thunderstorms developed and moved over the area, dumping up to 8 inches of rain in some locations, according to weather service officials.

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  • Floods
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General Mitchell International Airport reopened one of its bigger runways at 1 p.m. CT, the airport said.

"Flights are starting to come and go," said spokesman Ryan McAdams, who cautioned that the forecast called for potentially more rain late Friday.

He said it would be Saturday before AirTran, Frontier and Delta recovered from the cancellation of dozens of flights beginning about 9:30 p.m. Thursday.

"They will be in a recovery mode for a day," McAdams said.

Earlier, the water was about 2 feet deep in the medians surrounding the runways and was spilling out and standing on the runways, McAdams said. He said a few smaller runways were still closed Friday afternoon.

Between 100 and 200 people stayed in the airport overnight.

About 32,000 customers lost power, but all but 2,000 were back on line by Friday evening, said Barry McNulty, spokesman for We Energies.

On Friday, city officials reported a sinkhole and many flooded basements.

Mark Rohlfing, the city's fire chief, reported a car in a creek and lightning strikes, including one that sparked a house fire and caused $40,000 worth of damage.

"We had lightning strike two individuals," he said, but "luckily we were on scene very quickly and rushed them to the hospital."

One hotel was evacuated, and the Red Cross said that nearly 100 people were put up in two shelters.

Police Chief Ed Flynn said one man jumped in a river when police tried to stop him. He was rescued, and drugs were found in his car, Flynn said. Responders also rescued a drunken woman in a river.

CNN's Kara Devlin and Phil Gast contributed to this report.