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Rain Submerges Parts of Virginia, Killing Man And Sweeping Girl Away

June 27, 1995

CRIGLERSVILLE, Va. (AP) _ More than 3 inches of rain an hour submerged parts of Virginia on Tuesday, sweeping away cars and killing a man caught in swirling currents. A 3-year-old girl was missing after being swept into a swollen stream.

A Coast Guard helicopter hoisted 10 families to safety along the Robinson River in the state’s central region, including two 11-year-old boys rescued from a tree.

``You can design for this or plan for it all you want, but you can’t harness the force of nature,″ said Robert Johannis, who helped fish two men out of a flooded truck in the river.

Ground access to the village of Criglersville was cut off after water washed a 30-foot tree across the only road into town. Helicopters were used to rescue rescued several people.

Just southeast, water washing across Virginia 609 at Banco sliced through the pavement.

``The water lifted up the asphalt like it was layer cake,″ said Mike Viar, a hydraulic engineer with the Virginia Department of Transportation.

Gov. George Allen declared a state of emergency for all of the state except its eastern and southwestern tips, allowing use of the National Guard in rescue efforts.

The storms followed a 100-mile path from Fluvanna County, 20 miles south of Charlottesville, to Winchester near the Maryland line. It was the fifth day of persistent rain in the region.

Rain fell at a rate of 3.5 inches an hour in Fluvanna County. Gordonsville, 20 miles northeast of Charlottesville, received 9.1 inches of rain between 7 a.m. and 11 a.m., the National Weather Service said.

More rain was forecast through Wednesday in central and northern Virginia.

In a mountainous area of Warren County in the northern region, water from a flooded creek swept away a 3-year-old girl who fled with her grandparents from a motorhome at a campground near the creek.

Firefighters rescued the grandparents from a tree they had climbed to avoid the water. Maryland State Police helicopters and ground searchers turned up no trace of the child along the creek and the Shenandoah River by late afternoon.

Authorities in Rappahannock County south of Warren County found the body of 47-year-old Kirk Davis. He was last seen walking away from his house after his car, which had been parked near his house, was swept into the Rush River.

A search team found Davis’ body about three miles from his house, said state Emergency Services spokeswoman Janet Clements said.

Water covered the four-lane U.S. 29 from both the north and south, cutting off access to Madison County on three sides. About 50 people whose homes were flooded sought food and a dry bed at a Red Cross shelter set up at a high school in Madison.

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