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At least six die in Virginia floods

Three bodies were dragged from a pickup truck that crashed into a huge hole in a washed-out road in Virginia. That raised the death toll to at least six after eight straight days of rain.

A 3-year-old girl and one other person who were washed away by floodwaters Tuesday were still missing as rain and the threat of more flooding hindered searchers.

Power company workers came across the submerged pickup early Thursday. It had crashed into a 25-foot-deep hole created when the road crumbled into the stream flowing through culverts beneath it, said Claude Webster, public safety director in Franklin County, south of Roanoke in western Virginia.

Coast Guard helicopters rescued 12 people and a pet parrot stranded by the high water Thursday. They were some of the more than 100 people airlifted to safety since the rains began June 22.

Many of those rescued were plucked from trees, rooftops and vehicles stranded in several feet of streaming current.

This is Virginia's worst flood damage and the most extensive search-and-rescue effort in a decade, said Janet Clements of the state Department of Emergency Services.

Nearly 3,000 people were forced from their homes Wednesday as rain drenched the Shenandoah Valley, southwestern Virginia and the Piedmont region just east of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

The National Guard supplied drinking water and other necessities and helped clear debris in Buena Vista, Syria, Wolftown and Lexington, where flooding contaminated water and cut off electricity to wells.

Forecasters blamed the rain on two similar high-pressure systems _ one in the Atlantic off the Georgia-Carolina coast and the other over New England _ that have been spinning dense and water-filled air toward the region.

"We look out six to 10 days, and the pattern doesn't look like it's going to change a whole lot," said National Weather Service meteorologist Bill Sammler.

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