Monday, April 22, 2002

Dry skies welcome following deluge

By Cindy Kranz
and Randy Tucker

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Dry skies will be a welcome sight today, following heavy thunderstorms over the weekend that triggered mudslides, high water and traffic accidents Sunday.

        Today's forecast is cloudy through the early afternoon, then partly cloudy.

        By 6 p.m. Sunday, more than 1 1/2 inches of rain dumped on the Tristate in less than two hours. Most of that downpour came from one storm, said John Franks, meteorologist at the Nation al Weather Service in Wilmington.

        Mudslides and high water closed roads from Dearborn County to Ludlow in Kenton County to Butler County's Madison Township. Emergency crews were kept busy responding to traffic accidents and flooding in homes and apartments.

        Nearly every county in the Tristate was under a flood warning Sunday.

        Steve Brash, spokesman for Cinergy, said Sunday's storms didn't cause signifcant problems. Friday's storm had knocked out power to more than 6,000 customers in Ohio and Kentucky overnight. “We've had scattered outages here and there, but no major outages,” Mr. Brash said Sunday night. “We've got some neighborhoods that have underground electrical service, and because of the extensive rain, we've had some problems in those areas.”

        Mildred Burdell spent the weekend watching the water rise in her back yard at Holly Towne Mobile Home Park in Amelia, Clermont County.

        Her property was flooded ankle- to knee-deep after Friday's and Sunday's heavy rains.

        “It's right under my house,” the 55-year-old woman said Sunday afternoon. “It comes down the bank behind my house and runs down the street. You can't see the ground at all anymore.”

        About seven or eight homes in the mobile home park are affected, Ms. Burdell said. “The water coming up like that ruins the floors. Just the dampness weakens the floors. My neighbor said he's already had to replace his floors once. We live in a mobile home park, but these homes are not cheap.”

        Street flooding forced David Windall to abandon his 1993 Honda Civic by the side of the road after it stalled in high water on Round Bottom Road in Newtown.

        “I drove through about three or four spots on the road that had been flooded on my way over here,” Mr. Windall said after walking about a quarter-mile from his car to a nearby United Dairy Farmers at Main and Church streets.

        “I thought I could drive through this one just like the others, but it was a lot deeper.”

        The flooding was deep enough along Kellogg Road near Lunken Airfield to turn soccer fields and golf driving ranges into marsh and swamp habitats.

        “I've seen the fields flooded before, but I haven't seen them this wet in a while,” said Josh Henderson of Anderson Township, who stopped by the UDF at Wilmer and Kellogg streets on his way home. “If this keeps up, I'll have to get my Jet Ski out just to get around.”

        Even with the weekend rain and flash floods, the Ohio River is not expected to reach flood stage, ac cording to the Ohio River Forecasting Center, an arm of the National Weather Service.

        In Cincinnati, the Ohio River was at about 34 feet Sunday morning. The weekend rains are expected to cause the river to swell to 41.5 feet in Cincinnati by Thursday, said hy drologist Len Maz. Flood stage is 52 feet.

        Reporter Tim Bonfield contributed to this story.


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