Weather Hassles Large Portion of the Country

This morning, two weather extremes are creating big problems over a large portion of the United States.

Drenching rains caused deadly flooding in the Plains before hitting the heartland hard. And, out West, heat and a lack of rain combined for bone-dry conditions that fueled dangerous wildfires.

In Osawatomie, Kan., rising waters forced the evacuation of half the town, population 4,600.

"I never seen anything like it," one resident said. "I'm from Oklahoma. This is not anything I'm used to seeing."

Nearby in Coffeyville, a submerged oil refinery contaminated floodwaters, while high waters closed roads and highways.

But the West Coast has been battling another form of extreme weather. Los Angeles just set a record for the driest year since the 1870s with only three inches of rain.

Conditions have become dangerous.

"When fuel moisture gets low, fire can be started by [a] cigarette thrown into the brush," said Patrick Joyce, a senior park ranger with the Los Angeles Department of Parks and Recreation.

Flag warnings signaled dangerous wildfire conditions Sunday, as firefighters retreated from a brush fire that consumed 50 acres along Interstate 5.

In Georgia, 95 of the state's 159 counties now suffer from extreme drought. Officials known as the "water police" are enforcing water usage rules throughout the state.

"A lot of people find it hard to believe that we do patrol and we do issue citations," said David Cook, of the Cobb County Water System.

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