Wednesday, September 3, 2003

Flood watch continues today

Rain won't let up until Thursday

By Steve Kemme, The Cincinnati Enquirer
and Sue Kiesewetter, Enquirer contributor

[IMAGE] Steve Adkins, a laborer with the city of West Chester, sweeps debris off of the Cincinnati-Dayton Road Bridge into Mill Creek at Union Centre Boulevard on Tuesday.
(Glenn Hartong photo)
| ZOOM |
FAIRFIELD - Heavy rainfall Tuesday - on the heels of a soggy Labor Day weekend - created a lot of anxious moments and many more inconveniences across Greater Cincinnati.

Rain resulted in submerged streets and yards, treacherous driving, and the emergency evacuation of a school bus loaded with children. In Fairfield, residents whose homes had been flooded in mid-June by Pleasant Run Creek piled city delivered sandbags around their houses and garages to keep floodwater from seeping under doors.

Greater Cincinnati, which has sustained about 4 inches of rain since Friday, is under a flood watch through noon today.

The amount of rain that has fallen in the first two days of September - almost 21/2 inches -nearly equals the amount of rainfall Greater Cincinnati normally gets in the entire month.

The potential for flooding would be far greater if the rain hadn't been spread out over several days, said Don Hughes, meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

"It helps the drainage that it hasn't all come down at once," he said.

This is the daily amount of rainfall since Friday at Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky International Airport:

Friday: 0.35 inches

Saturday: Trace

Sunday: 1.19 inches

Monday: 2.17 inches

Tuesday: 0.19 inches (through 5 p.m.)

Normal rainfall for August: 3.79 inches

Actual rainfall for August: 4.8 inches

Normal rainfall for September: 2.65

Actual rainfall for September so far: 2.36 inches (through 5 p.m. Tuesday)

Source: National Weather Service in Wilmington

But central Indiana wasn't so lucky. Indianapolis was deluged with 7.2 inches of rain on Labor Day, smashing a 108-year-old record for a single-day rainfall in that city.

In this region, there is a 70 percent chance of rain today and a 30 percent chance of rain tonight. The area's heaviest rain Tuesday fell in Butler and Warren counties, where 2 inches hit in some places.

The storm front moving through the region from the northwest will be gone by Thursday morning, Hughes said.

Thursday will begin a welcome stretch of cool, dry weather that's expected to last through Monday, he said.

But Fairfield residents took little consolation in that forecast Tuesday.

Carl Enderwitz, who suffered $16,000 in property damage from the June 14-15 flooding, left work at noon Tuesday to begin preparing for another possible flood.

He moved furniture to safe ground and piled sandbags outside doors.

"The streets are under water, the sewers are full, I'm about to flood again,'' Enderwitz said from his Banker Drive home.

Tami Todd watched the normally trickling creek behind her Banker Drive home swell to an estimated 15 feet deep Monday night, before it receded and then rose again to the same level Tuesday during a three-hour period.

The American Red Cross assisted families in the Royal Oaks apartments on Boymel Drive. High water also was reported in spots along Ohio 4 and Mack, Winton and South Gilmore roads.

Fairfield city crews delivered 800 sandbags on Monday evening to residents and began receiving more requests for sandbags after a heavy rain at mid-afternoon Tuesday, said city engineer Jim Turner.

"The ground is super-saturated,'' said Fairfield City Manager Art Pizzano. "We've had very few reports of people getting water in their homes, but we've seen quite a bit of street flooding - especially along Route 4.''

In Warren County, a Mason school bus was stalled by high water around 4 p.m. Tuesday, at the intersection of Snider Road and Cedar Village Drive in Deerfield Township.

But students were evacuated without injury, said Warren County police dispatchers. The water reached only as high as the first step of the bus.

About 65 students were evacuated from the bus and then transported home on another bus.

Michael D. Clark contributed to this story.

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