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Associated Press Published: July 29, 1997 12:00 AM

Strong thunderstorms hammered parts of the Northeast early today after heavy rain lashed the Midwest, Southwest and Rocky Mountains. The Southeast was generally fair after high winds.

By tonight, a high pressure was expected to bring pleasant temperatures and lower humidity to the Northeast. But severe weather was possible again over the Ohio Valley and the Southeast, with hail and 60 mph wind forecast for Tennessee and the Carolinas.

Severe weather was expected ahead of a cold front that could move across the northern Plains and Great Lakes. Hail, high winds and heavy rain were possible from Colorado into Texas, Oklahoma and Missouri.

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The forecast called for heavy rains in the West, with the same possible from New Mexico and Arizona into Wyoming and Idaho.

On Monday, severe weather hit the eastern two-thirds of the nation.

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Torrential rain flooded roads and homes along more than 100 miles of the eastern Colorado Rockies, stalling cars and delaying flights at Denver International Airport for up to 30 minutes.

Eight inches of rain fell in Fort Collins, Colo., flooding streets and basements while a mud slide north of town closed U.S. Highway 287. The flooding knocked a freight train carrying hazardous materials off the track, but there were no serious injuries.

In Denver, rain delayed the Colorado Rockies-Montreal Expos baseball game for more than two hours. South of the city, four children were trapped for two hours before being rescued from an island in a surging creek.

In Arizona, high winds damaged buildings in Marana and tore off part of a roof at the First Baptist Church of Avra Valley.

Farther east, a tornado leveled a barn and trees in eastern Ohio, and up to 4 1/2 inches of rain fell in Kentucky. In southern West Virginia, winds toppled power poles and knocked out service to 15,000 customers.

Lightning caused a fire at an elementary school in Cranberry Township, Pa., forcing the evacuation of 25 children at a day care.

In the South, winds blew out windows in Russellville, Ark., and damaged buildings in nearby Huntsville.

The nation's high temperature Monday was 107, at Blythe, Calif., while the low was 39 at Yellowstone National Park, Wyo.

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