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New Storms Hit Cincinnati Area

July 19, 2001

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LOVELAND, Ohio (AP) _ A new round of storms hit the Cincinnati area, dropping 2 to 4 inches more rain and further swelling already overflowing streams and gullies.

Water levels were dropping by Thursday morning, easing rush-hour commutes on roads that had flooded.

The rain came Wednesday night, just hours after authorities recovered the body of a teen-ager who was swept away by raging floodwaters from an even worse storm the day before.

Three deaths were blamed on the storm, which the National Weather Service said dumped a half-foot of rain on the Cincinnati area.

``It falls so fast that it just won’t sink into the ground,″ said Patrick Karney, director of the Metropolitan Sewer District. ``It puddles. Then it runs off. That’s going to hit surface streams and overwhelm them.″

Steven Buchberger, an associate professor and water resource engineer at the University of Cincinnati, said the rain gauge at his home in Montgomery recorded more than 6 inches Tuesday night.

``I’ve never seen anything like it in the 12 years I’ve lived there,″ he said.

Flash floods from Tuesday’s thunderstorms caved in foundations, knocked out power to 26,000 customers and forced many residents from their homes. By Thursday morning, only a few scattered power outages remained, according to Steve Brash, a spokesman for the Cinergy Corp., the Cincinnati-based energy company.

Monica Kuchmar, 16, was swept to her death early Wednesday.

The Hamilton County sheriff’s office said the girl’s body was found Wednesday evening in the Little Miami River near Lake Isabella Park, five miles south of where she disappeared.

Kuchmar had climbed out of a sport utility vehicle that was stalled in high water near Loveland, about 25 miles northeast of Cincinnati, and was swept away by water from Sycamore Creek, said Chief Jim Hunter of the Loveland-Symmes Township Fire Department.

Runoff from the rain also caused the death of a man and his daughter in suburban Fairfax. Ronald Davenport, 48, and his daughter, Anna, 21, were found in at least 7 feet of water after a rapidly rising creek knocked in part of a basement wall of their home.

Hamilton and Butler County commissioners declared a state of emergency on Wednesday. The declarations could clear the way for getting state and federal assistance to residents, businesses and communities.

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