Hundreds Flee Ohio Floods, Storms Kill Six
Undated (AP) _ National Guardsmen moved into north-central Ohio today as the worst flooding in 28 years receded, but storms blamed in six deaths continued to batter parts of Texas and Oklahoma.
Hundreds of people forced from their homes in Ohio returned to start repairs on the more than $15 million in damage.
″There’s just no warning on something like this,″ Police Capt. Fred Eichinger said in hard-hit Shelby, Ohio. ″You don’t know how high it’s going and when it’s going to quit.″
Shelby’s mayor, Garland Gates, asked the Guard in to provide security and help with the cleanup.
Gov. Richard Celeste took a 1 1/2 -hour helicopter tour today of the hardest- hit areas, stopping in Bellville, said his spokeswoman, Debra Phillips. Celeste walked through the town and met with local officials. He appointed Lt. Gov. Paul Leonard to form a team to help victims seek federal aid, she said.
As Ohio coped with high water from rain-swollen rivers Thursday, thunderstorms spawned tornadoes in Texas and Colorado and dumped hail as big as golfballs near Kiowa, Colo., and Charles Town, W.Va.
More hail was reported today near Texoma, Okla., and Perryton, Texas. Heavy rains resulted in flash floods in parts of northeastern Texas.
The National Weather Service in Ohio today canceled flood warnings for the Cuyahoga, Tuscarawas and Olentangy rivers and the Big Walnut Creek. However, warnings for the Scioto, Mahoning and Sandusky rivers remained in effect.
Lesser flooding occurred in sections of Montana, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, where Trenton State College reported over 5 inches of rain in 24 hours. A flash flood watch was in effect in south central Montana, and flood watches went up in New York’s Catskill Mountains.
Storms were blamed for two deaths in Indiana and one in Oklahoma. Three people drowned on a lake in eastern Texas when wind capsized their boat.
Authorities in Ohio evacuated a trailer park early today after high water caused a trailer’s butane tank to explode, burning a man and his wife, said Mount Gilead Police Chief Robert Ruhl. The man was in critical condition today.
Officials estimated flood damage in north central Ohio at more than $15 million. Four counties remained under a state of emergency today.
Sixty Guardsmen were activated by the governor to provide security and help clean up in Shelby and Bellville.
Black Fork River flooding forced as many as 500 Shelby residents from their homes and cut the city of 9,800 in two. Fifty to 100 of Bellville’s 1,700 residents were also evacuated, officials said.
Five people were injured in Shelby, where flooding damaged about 300 homes, as well as business and industrial property, said the Ohio Disaster Services Agency. The damage was expected to top $10 million.
″We had one of these in 1959 and this is much worse than that one was,″ said Eichinger.
In neighboring Crawford County, about 125 residents of Bucrus left their homes. An apartment complex was evacuated in Galion.
In Oklahoma, the storms cut power to a Lawton hospital, felled trees, closed roads, shattered a Duncan furniture store’s windows, flipped a mobile home and blew the roofs off several Yukon buildings.
In Oklahoma City, lightning tore the top off an oil storage tank, sending burning crude oil and natural gas into the street. The fuel flowed into a creek and firefighters fought the blaze there, said fire department spokesman Jon Hansen.
Lightning strikes were blamed for four house fires in Oklahoma City.
In Colorado, two tornadoes pounded farmlands and gave residents just east of Denver a scare, while a lighning bolt knocked down seven people on a Boulder soccer field, critically injuring one, a 10-year-old boy.
In Wausau, Wis., lightning knocked WAOW-TV off the air for about 25 minutes Thursday afternoon and WSAW-TV for about 20 minutes.
To the north, in Phillips, high winds flipped a cargo plane at Price County Airport and damaged 12 to 15 statues at Wisconsin Concrete Park, a tourist attraction.
The storm came a day before today’s start of the Fourth of July Downburst Celebration, which commemorates a storm 10 years ago that destroyed most of the trees in the city and the Flambeau River State Forest.
In Baltimore, a rowhouse collapsed early Thursday, killing two occupants. Witnesses said the house had been hit by lightning.
In Nevada, lightning sparked a 75-acre fire near homes in Carson City and a 3,600-acre blaze south of the Idaho border, along with scores of smaller fires. Rain washed boulders across Interstate 80 in northern California, blocking the highway for several hours.