• 32°

State and local officials will spend the rest of week conducting damage assessments of property affected by this week’s flash flooding, and from all indication, they will be busy.

Thursday, March 21, 2002

State and local officials will spend the rest of week conducting damage assessments of property affected by this week’s flash flooding, and from all indication, they will be busy.

Lawrence County Emergency Management Agency deputy director Larry Jewell said he has no firm figures yet on how badly the flooding affected the county, but predicts the dollar figure will be "way up there," with infrastructure hit particularly hard.

"It’s going to be astronomical," Jewell said. "Roads, bridges, culverts, you name it."

While damage is widespread, the hardest hit areas appear at this time to be in the central and eastern portions of the county.

"We’re getting calls from Ben Howell Rd., Windsor Township, Rome," Jewell said. "We have 18 majors so far– that’s homes with four feet of water or better. We have 8 minors, that’s homes with two feet of water or better," Jewell said. There are also 3 businesses affected by flooding but Jewell said he does not know which ones at this time.

People who have suffered home damage due to flooding should call the Lawrence County EMA office at 533-4375 to seek assistance. "We can’t help them if we don’t know who they are and where they are," Jewell advised. At this time, EMA officials are concerned only with damage to homes, as opposed to barns, bridges and other structures.

Several state agencies are working closely with local officials to assess the damage. "The state is doing everything it can to help us," Jewell said.

The Ohio Emergency Management Agency has opened an Emergency Operations Center to help coordinate disaster assistance with county offices. Officials with the Ohio Department of Health, Ohio Community Action Organization, and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency are all lending assistance to the recovery effort.

Several roads remain closed due to high water. They are State Route 650 at State Route 522, State Route 141 at milepost 20 in Arabia, State Route 217 at Linnville, State Route 243 at getaway, County Roads 19, 22 and 181.

The Western West Virginia Chapter of the American Red Cross opened an emergency shelter at the South Point Community Center Wednesday morning. The shelter closed as of 11 p.m. Wednesday evening. In a prepared statement, interim chapter manager Betsy Ratcliff advised that none of the area’s evacuees used the shelter.

Ohio Department of Transportation crews worked Wednesday on two road slippages, one on U.S. 52 in South Point near Solida Rd. and one on State Route 7 at the Gallia County line. Both roads were reported passable at press time.

Water rose during the late hours Tuesday evening, and began receding Wednesday afternoon in most areas.