Frances pours, Tri-State gets soaked

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 14, 2004

PERRY TOWNSHIP- Edith and George Wilson and their two children have lived along Lick Creek for the last 11 years. Wednesday, Lick Creek came licking at their door- literally.

Heavy rains forced the creek out of its banks, over Township Road 138 and over the bridge that normally leads to the Wilson's house.

"It was up to the house earlier and it went back down and now it is trying to come up again," Edith Wilson said Wednesday afternoon.

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Their children, Juanita, 16, and George Jr., 12, bunked with the grandparents in Ironton overnight. They could not get home from Dawson-Bryant schools Wednesday, and their parents could not get out to come and get them.

The Wilsons contend that their problems could be solved if local officials would clean out their creek. The debris collects at the culvert under the bridge every time it rains, they said.

Then when they get a heavy rain such as this one, all that water has nowhere to go but in their yard. They said people frequently throw out garbage and old furniture and these unwanted items get into the creek, which makes the already bad situation even worse.

"The bridge in front of the house is constantly stopped up with garbage appliances, gas tanks," Wilson said. "They've got to clean this creek out."

The Wilsons are not alone. Throughout Lawrence County, motorists

encountered water-covered roadways, swollen streams and detours to their destinations as the remnants of a southerner named Frances moved through the area.

"There is water standing all over the place," Melissa Kingery, of Elizabeth Township, said after she ventured into Ironton Wednesday afternoon.

Ray Young, meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Charleston, W.Va., said weather experts will be keeping a close watch on larger creeks and streams today.

Young said smaller waterways tend to empty more quickly, whereas the larger streams and rivers collect the water that empties in from smaller streams.

State Route 141 at Wilgus was closed at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday evening but reopened this morning at 6:30 a.m., while Lawrence Street Road,

parts of Hog Run Road outside Ironton and Indian Guyan Road outside of Chesapeake remain closed due to high water.

Jim O'Keefe, transportation manager for the Lawrence County Engineer's Office garage, said crews encountered few problems Wednesday because of high water, other than water standing on roadways.

Mike Willis, timekeeper for the Ohio Department of Transportation Lawrence County garage, said state crews will keep watch throughout the day today on State Routes 378 and 217 at Linnville, State Route 141 at Arabia and the Waterloo area because Symmes Creek continues to rise as heavy rainwater pours into it.

The heavy rains may have been to blame for an accident at State Route 243 at Shafertown Road Wednesday. O'Keefe said a BFI garbage truck was apparently trying to turn onto the state road and overturned.

School officials kept one eye on the skies and the other on the roads Wednesday, trying to stay alert to flooding, particularly in rural areas.

Symmes Valley, South Point and Rock Hill school districts dismissed classes early.

Sam Hall, Chesapeake Superintendent, said classes today were put on a two-hour delay.

"This is so we can see the roads before we send buses out," Hall said. There was concern Wednesday that some Chesapeake buses would not be able to run their regular routes because of water pouring out of ditches and streams and over roadways. Symmes Valley Schools were on a one- hour delay today. Other schools were in session at regular time.