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Floods sweep OH, IN

More storms targeted flood-stricken Indiana and Ohio Monday after a weekend deluge that left a foot of rain in some areas.

BY TRAVIS DUNN | BALTIMORE | July 7, 2003

More storms targeted flood-stricken Indiana and Ohio Monday after a weekend deluge that left a foot of rain in some areas.

About 400 people had to be evacuated from Kokomo, Ind., by boat Saturday morning, said Cathy Neumann, director of emergency services for the Howard-Tipton Chapter of the American Red Cross. Neumann said a shelter at Grace United Methodist Church housed about 15 people each night between Saturday and Monday, although that number was likely to go up, she said, when more people returned from weekend vacations.

"I think some people are coming home to surprises," she said.

So far, Neumann's teams have not been able to complete a full damage assessment, because the water had not completely receded Monday, but a "windshield survey" from her car found at least 200 damaged homes, and Neumann estimates that the total will be more than four times that number.

Larry Smith, director of the Howard County Emergency Management Agency, estimates the number of damaged homes at between 500 and 600, and he is sure that number will continue to climb. Smith also said there has been "significant damage" to corn crops in the county.

Two bridges are still out, and about 1,300 were without electricity Monday, said Pam Bright, spokesperson for the Indiana State Emergency Management Agency.

Two people in Indiana drowned and another was killed by a falling tree, added Bright.

Three counties in central Indiana Carroll, Howard and Cass declared states of emergency, and flood damage there will worsen as more rain falls, said meteorologist Michael Sabones, with the National Weather Service (NWS) office in Syracuse.

Kokomo, which has already seen 10 inches of rain, is the seat of Howard County.

Grant, Wells and Adams counties in eastern Indiana were also likely to experience serious flooding, Sabones said.

That prediction came true on Tuesday, according to Albert Shipe, a NWS hydrologist in Indianapolis, when the St. Mary's River reached "record levels." In addition, there was "extensive flooding" along the Wabash River and Iroquois Creek. "They haven't seen levels like that in at least 40 years," Shipe said.

In Ohio, Mercer County saw a foot of rain over the weekend. Hardest hit there was the town of Rockford, said Mike Robbins, deputy director of the Mercer County Emergency Management Agency. "We've got nowhere to put the water," he said.

The American Red Cross sheltered 32 people at the New Horizon Community Church over the weekend, he said, and county commissioners issued an emergency declaration.

Karl Kaiser, director of the Mercer County Emergency Management estimated that between 50 and 70 homes and business in his county were damaged by flooding, "but that list is growing," he said. Kaiser said sandbagging along the St. Mary's River, which runs through Rockford, prevented any more flood damage, but he couldn't say for certain whether the sandbags would hold the rain expected to fall between Tuesday and Thursday. "I hope so," he said.

The west side of Celina, the county seat, also experienced heavy flooding, and part of the village of Montezuma was also flooded. Darke, Logan, Shelby, Van Wert, Coshocton and Auglaize counties also reported flooding, said Rob Glenn, spokesman for the Ohio Emergency Management Agency. OEMA, he said, was providing counties with sandbags to prevent more possible flooding from the rain that continues to fall.


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