Thursday, June 07, 2001

Heavy rain clogs roads; flooding is widespread

By Jim Hannah
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The Tristate's Wednesday commute was bedeviled by downpours at both ends — with rain in the morning and heavy thunderstorms in the late afternoon snarling traffic and flooding roads.

        Hamilton County was under a flood warning until 10 p.m. Wednesday, with a similar warning for Clermont County until 11:45 p.m. Long after flash flooding on roads and backyards had cleared by early evening, calls about flooded basements continued to pour in to police agencies.

[photo] Capt. Jonas Roberts of the Fairfield Fire Department tries to clear a plugged drain Wednesday in the 6200 block of Dixie Highway.
(Craig Ruttle photo)
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        Jerry Gooden, a communications supervisor for the Hamilton County Communications Center, said high water resulted in numerous temporary road closures and flooded basements, particularly in the northern Hamilton County communities of Colerain Township, Forest Park, Springdale and Sharonville. Fairfield, in Butler County, was also hard hit, with widespread flooding, including along Ohio 4 and Ohio 747.

        “It wasn't the streams overflowing and causing it, it was just the heavy rainfall,” Mr. Gooden said.

        Accidents, though numerous, were not “significantly” above average, he said.

        Parts of Kemper and Mosteller roads in the Springdale and Sharonville areas remained closed Wednesday night because of high water.

        Wednesday's problems came after heavy rain overnight Tuesday and early Wednesday — as much as 10 inches was reported in Corinth, Ky.

        In Washington Court House north of Cincinnati, several cars slid off rain-covered Interstate 71 Wednesday afternoon. Water-covered roads, traffic accidents, power outages and malfunctioning traffic lights were reported throughout the Tristate in the wake of the afternoon storm.

        A couple of roads were flooded in Ripley County, Ind., officials said, but the rain stopped and the water quickly drained. No significant flooding was reported in Clinton, Highland, Brown, Adams or Scioto counties.

[photo] A flash flood on Crooked Creek in southern Grant County tore most of the decking from Jim Pittman's bridge to Corinth Road
(Patrick Reddy photo)
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        In Northern Kentucky, officials at the Kentucky Speedway said they are keeping an eye on the now sodden grassy parking areas that proved to be a problem at last year's inaugural event as a June 16 Busch Series stock car race approaches.

        The speedway has converted much of its parking to asphalt or gravel to prevent another mudfest like the one fans experienced last year.

        In Grant County, Ky., Mother Nature hasn't been kind to entrepreneur Vickie Palmer.

        Rain has kept customers away from her horseback riding business for the past two weekends. Then a flash flood washed away her small office Tuesday night.

        Parts of the northern half of Kentucky received several inches of rain Tuesday night. Owen County received 6 to 8 inches, while 4 to 5 inches fell in Pendleton County, the National Weather Service said.

        Ms. Palmer's business — Easy Rider Ranch — is next to Crooked Creek in Corinth, a rural town in southern Grant County with a population of 137.

Tristate weather forecast from
        The creek jumped its banks Tuesday night and washed away the 10-foot-by-12-foot yard barn that she had converted to an office. The feet of her desk could be seen poking out of the creek as water receded Wednesday.

        But most of Tuesday night's intense rain didn't make it to Greater Cincinnati. Just under an inch — 0.98 — fell at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, where Cincinnati's official rainfall counts are taken. As of Wednesday afternoon, 13.29 inches of precipitation has fallen at the airport this year. That's 4.91 inches below normal for the year.

        Despite a deficit at the airport, Warren County Agricultural Extension Agent Gregory Myer said water levels have been replenished and farmers need a few days of dry weather. He said some farmers still haven't planted all their soybeans, while others are behind on cutting hay.

        “Now it is almost too much of a good thing,” said Joe Boggs, Hamilton County's horticulture extension agent.

        He said the fact the Tristate is almost 5 inches below normal doesn't mean there has not been enough rain for plants.

        The Ohio River was at 30.07 feet Wednesday afternoon, well below the Cincinnati flood stage of 52 feet. The Licking River at Falmouth was at about 15 feet, 13 feet below flood stage.

        The National Weather Service predicts showers and thunderstorms again today, with a high of 76.

       Walt Schaefer and the Associated Press contributed to this report


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