Storms cause damage, flooding

Published 10:34 am Tuesday, March 1, 2011

By Lori Kersey and Michelle Goodman

Since Sunday evening, steady rains have drenched Lawrence County, putting area officials on alert for the threat of flooding.

Flood watches were in effect through Monday evening. With streams and creeks elevated, Mike Pemberton, Ironton streets superintendent, had his eyes on the Ohio River to see if the city’s floodgates should be closed.

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“The weather forecast shows we’ll be right at 48 feet, and our first gate goes up at 48 feet,” Pemberton said. “That’s based on a one foot per hour rise of the river.”

According to John Sikora, service hydrologist for the National Weather Service in Charleston, W.Va., the river would most likely continue to rise through mid-week.

Pemberton said if floodgates were closed, escape routes on McPherson Street would be open.

Mike Boster, director of Lawrence County’s Emergency Management Agency, asked residents to keep an eye on areas that are historically prone to flooding, like State Route 93, Symmes Creek or other creek areas, and not to wait to evacuate if flooding threatens your home.

He also asked citizens to be mindful of the roadways and not to drive into washed out roads.

“Never drive into water on the roadway,” Boster said. “We like to say ‘Don’t drown, turn around.’ It only takes a few inches of water to wash a car away.”

Flooding hasn’t been the only threat to the county.

Heavy winds reported on Monday morning had trees and power lines down in various places. County Engineer Doug Cade confirmed that downed trees on County Road 6 were in the power lines and there were several other roads with downed trees. Power lines were also down due to fallen branches on Township Road 268 in Deering.

The National Weather Service was unable to confirm if the high winds were the result of tornadoes.