Area has a wet weekend

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 12, 2003

It doesn't happen very often, and the members of the Upper Township Volunteer Fire Department hope it never happens to them again.

After helping township residents cope with flash flooding after Saturday's severe storms, firefighters returned to the fire station to discover their facility flooded by six to eight inches of water and mud. Firefighter Mark Hopper said the weekend was spent cleaning.

"After the water came up we've been here almost non-stop, just cleaning," Hopper said.

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Much of their work had to be done in the dark because of a power outage. Hopper said firefighters will now have to determine what equipment was ruined in the flood. The fire department had just received a shipment of new helmets, hoses and other items they recently purchased with a FEMA grant. Some of the equipment was still setting in boxes on the floor when the flood waters rose.

Officials with the Charleston, W.Va., office of the National Weather Service will be working with local officials today to determine if any of the tornado sightings in Lawrence County were, in fact, the real thing.

"There were numerous reports of funnel clouds, but it doesn't appear that any made it to the ground," meteorologist Alan Rezik said.

Wind has now replaced last week's rain. Rezik said wind gusts of between 30 and 40 mph were clocked throughout the Tri-State this morning.

Local officials report most state and county roads are passable now. The heavy rains Saturday forced some creeks and streams out of their banks.

Meanwhile, hundreds of Lawrence Countians are without electricity today. American Electric Power spokeswoman Terri Flora said 571 AEP customers in the southern end of Ironton and in South Point are in the dark. Flora said she expects power to be restored in most areas by this evening or early tomorrow morning.

Flora urged people to consider safety and avoid contact with fallen power lines.

The weather forecast calls for cooler, drier weather until Thursday. Light rain is in the forecast the latter part of the week.

Those who have experienced property damage or loss due to this weekend's flash flooding may contact the Lawrence County Emergency Management Agency at 533-4375.