For Robert and Sandy Brennan, the last few days have been filled with fear and water.

"You sit here and you look at the sky, and you wonder if it's going to come through," a mud-covered Brennan said Monday as he and his wife inspected their flood-wracked house about 40 miles northeast of Columbus."You wonder if the basement walls are going to give in and you're going to lose the house. We're barely making it now. The only decent thing we've got is the house."

The Brennans were among thousands of people in the East and the Midwest struggling to save their homes as areas already plagued by floods received still more rain in punishing storms.

At least 23 people have died or have been reported missing since the series of storms first plowed through over the weekend. That includes 11 victims in Ohio, where showers dumped up to 9 more inches of rain on Monday.

Flooding wasn't the only problem.

From Kansas to Indiana on Monday, damaging winds approaching 90 mph and heavy rains snapped power lines and shattered windows. About 900 people evacuated the terminal buildings at Kansas City International Airport.

Many Iowans were caught by surprise as tornadoes whipped through the middle of the state. Gov. Terry Branstad declared eight counties disaster areas.

A tornado in Granger, Iowa, a town of 620 about 20 miles northwest of Des Moines, leveled a duplex and severely damaged about six houses.

In Kansas, a storm overturned boats and pulled the roof off a restaurant on the marina at Perry Lake northeast of Topeka. Two minor injuries were reported.

Hours after Vice President Al Gore praised firefighters for stopping the flames from destroying any homes in Florida's most fire-devastated county, an unoccupied home burned.

Authorities urged residents in southern Volusia County to flee Monday, so homeowners packed their vehicles with belongings and watched from about a mile away as black smoke rose up in the air.

"I'm so sorry," Gore said to Justo and Josephina Urquiza, hugging the couple in front of what was left of their home in a burned-out subdivision in Flagler County.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has spent $35 million in Florida and expects to spend another $35 million by the time the fires are out, Gore said.