Flood waters rising

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 18, 2003

PEDRO -- The wheels on the Scioto Block tractor trailer made waves out of the water as the big rig moved slowly along State Route 93 Tuesday.

Normally, traffic on the two-lane highway is fast-paced and heavy. But it came to a virtual standstill Tuesday morning when the floody waters of Crane's Nest Creek came over the bank on one side of the roadway and covered the pavement when it crossed to the other side at the 10-mile marker. Once again this year, Lawrence County has been hit with flash flooding after a major movement of precipitation.

The heavy rains over the last few days created a dangerous situation for motorists and headaches for people who live along the swollen stream. Those who ventured to find out how deep the water was were soon up to their knees in it, even thought they were standing next to a guardrail on blacktop.

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"My mom can't go to work, and my aunt works at (Our Lady of) Bellefonte (Hospital) and she can't get out, either," Angel Johnson said.

Friends from Worthington, Ky., who came to visit they couldn't get back home.

Two motorists became stranded in the water and had to be pulled to safety by Elizabeth and Upper township fire departments. Most people turned around when they saw the "road closed" signs and opted for an alternate route. Most of those who braved the flood waters were drivers in semi rigs and four-wheel-drive vehicles.

"It's been like this since 8:30 this morning," Elizabeth Township Volunteer Fire Chief Dale Waugh said. "It's a safety problem. If we have an emergency on the other side of this, we'll have to go all the way around State Route 522, and it will take us probably 20 minutes."

Ted Cox's mother lives in Decatur, but he lives in Ironton. She needed her medicine and he drove through the water to take that medication to her.

"My sister takes care of her, but there's no way she could have gone through this in a Cavalier, so I took her medicine to her," Cox said. "Something's got to be done about this creek out here."

Waugh, Cox and others want Crane's Nest Creek to be dredged, but they believe the creeks are on Wayne National Forest property.

Wayne National Forest Assistant District Ranger for Operations John Brown said he was not sure if that particular part of Crane's Nest Creek is on national forest property, but said the federal agency bought property in that area recently.

"We just purchased the land, and I'm not sure where the boundaries are," Brown said. "If it is we may need to look at doing something to protect the highway."

A flash flood warning was in effect for the Tri-State until midnight Tuesday.