Tuesday, March 11, 1997
Areas along flood's path braced

Since March 1, twisters and high water have killed 59 people in West Virginia, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee. As the Ohio River recedes in the Tristate, it is rising in parts of Kentucky, Indiana and southern Illinois. Here is a regional look at flooding developments:


Along the Ohio River shoreline, government workers, residents and business owners began the depressing task of sorting out ruined property and washing away the river's mud and trash.

At least 1,150 homes remain without gas, and 1,800 are without electricity.

The Ohio Department of Transportation reports 12 sites on state highways remain closed.


The dangerous crest of the Ohio River moved toward the farming communities of western Kentucky on Monday.

Paducah, the next-largest city expecting the crest, is protected by a floodwall. The river is expected to reach its highest point there Friday. Seventy homes have been evacuated. ''It's up on the wall some places 2 feet,'' said Van Newberry, a county engineer. ''If we didn't have that wall, you'd have 1 to 2 feet of water probably all the way to 10th Street.''

Authorities in Owen County, north of Lexington, freed the bodies of a couple from the car in which they drowned last weekend. Allen and Marilyn Wilson were swept off a highway by the raging Kentucky River.

Officials estimated that damage in Louisville's Jefferson County was $100 million and said that may rise. Across Kentucky, estimated losses are at least $250 million and 75,000 homes damaged.


The crest of the Ohio River, at its highest level in 33 years, headed for Evansville, the biggest city affected by flooding since Louisville last week. City workers have checked the 25-mile levee eight times daily for leaks and to measure the river's depth. They had found only one minor leak by Monday.

Authorities in Hanover Beach, north of Louisville, began 24-hour patrols amid reports of scattered looting by people using boats to reach evacuated homes. State police also patrolled Grandview, east of Evansville.


Emergency workers kept one eye on the Ohio River and the other on southern Illinois' smaller waterways, one day after the fast-rising Saline River washed away trailers and flooded homes in the tiny community of Saline Landing. About 34 homes were inundated as rain and Ohio River backup washed at least one trailer from its moorings and left other homes covered by water. The Saline - south of Old Shawneetown - is one of several smaller waterways that feed into the Ohio in southern Illinois.

Volunteers and emergency crews used sandbags to plug holes in the main levee at Old Shawneetown, where the Ohio had risen nearly 2 feet and is expected to crest at 53.8 feet Friday morning.

About 150 southern Illinois families have been displaced by flooding, according to the Illinois Emergency Management Agency.

The American Red Cross has opened shelters in Metropolis and Shawneetown, and arrived in Elizabethtown on Monday. The agency's Chicago office also began staffing a hot line for Illinois residents seeking flood relief.

West Virginia

Officials continued to survey the damage: Three dead in floods; 16 counties declared federal disaster areas; at least 4,290 homes, 380 businesses, 80 schools and churches damaged. No damage estimate.