Frances pays visit to region

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 14, 2004

It was not the brightest start to their morning: Lawrence County Engineer's Office road crews spent Wednesday morning clearing a couple of rocks that had slid off the hillside on Sugar Creek-Johnstown Road, and cutting up a couple of trees that fell on Hog Run Road, compliments of a visitor named Frances.

But Highway Supervisor Jim O'Keefe said that given the amount of rain that the remnants of Hurricane Frances has brought

so far, things could be worse.

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"It's been pretty good for the amount of water we've had," O'Keefe said.

O'Keefe said crews used a grader to clear water off Big Branch Road outside of Chesapeake this morning, another area on which crews are keeping an eye on.

Jerry Murnahan, transportation manager for the Ohio Department of Transportation Lawrence County garage said state workers are keeping close watch on State Route 93 at Pedro between the 10 and 11 mile markers, a low area that is prone to flooding in heavy downpours.

"Right now we're in pretty good shape," Murnahan said. "We've got crews out in case anything happens and they've got chainsaws if they find any trees down and they've got high water signs ready. We're ready in case anything happens."

Ohio State Highway Patrol secretary Trish Scarberry said so far, no roads have been closed due to high water.

Things could change. The region is under a flood watch through this evening. According to a statement from the National Weather Service, Charleston, W.Va., office, the rains could increase in intensity along the Ohio River.

Because of Frances, a band of moderate or heavy rain is moving northwest at 20 miles per hour and was expected to become nearly stationary along the river

this morning. Hourly rainfall could total as much as one inch. The forecast calls for a 100 percent chance of rain tonight and a 60 percent chance Thursday.