WV sees flooding

In a huge storm that has crept from the Midwest to the East Coast, it looks like flooding in West Virginia is one of the worst pockets of damage.

BY SUSAN KIM | BALTIMORE | November 14, 2003

In a huge storm that has crept from the Midwest to the East Coast, it looks like flooding in West Virginia is one of the worst pockets of damage.

Parts of the town of Milton, W.V., in Cabell County, were virtually shut down when floodwaters overtook the area, said long-time resident James Vaughan, caretaker at the Milton Church of Christ.

"This is the worst I've seen since 1978," he said.

The Milton Baptist Church opened as a shelter.

The flooding struck areas that have been repeatedly hit, said Yvonne Shepard, spokesperson for West Virginia emergency management.

In addition to Milton and the rest of Putnam County, other counties affected include Lincoln, Cabell, Putnam and Kanawha, said Shepard. "They've had terrible luck this year. At this point, it's just very traumatic. Sometimes people get to the point that whenever it rains, they get anxious."

Loudendale, in Kanawha, was also hard hit. The area has houses packed into a narrow valley.

The floodwaters rose so fast, people had to be rescued from their homes and vehicles.

West Virginia along with other Eastern states saw winds in excess of 50 mph for more than 24 hours. More than 7,000 people were still without power in that state early Friday.

Meanwhile the winds were continuing in other parts of the East, even as power crews were scrambling to restore electricity.

"We expect winds of 20-30 mph still into the weekend," said Dennis Michalski, spokesperson for the New York state emergency management office.

Downed wires, trees, and limbs were the type damage local officials were seeing so far, Michalski said.

The Lake Placid area saw a foot of snow after near-blizzard conditions Friday but residents seemed to take it in stride, he said.

About one million people in the Northeast were without power after 60-mph winds, with higher gusts, began Wednesday, but that number began to diminish Friday as winds slowed a bit.

Parts of the East could see blowing snow through Friday night at least, forecasters said, but the weekend should be calmer.

High winds that blew across the Great Lakes and into the Northeast delayed hundreds of flights the region's airports Thursday and knocked out power to almost 1 million homes in eight states.

Michigan and Ohio were the hardest hit by power outages, with about 375,000 customers affected in each of those states. But electricity was largely restored by late Thursday.

Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and North Carolina also saw wind damage.

Hurricane-force winds were clocked in Michigan, where more than 300,000 people lost power earlier this week. Ohio saw a tornado earlier this week that hit Wooster the hardest, causing $15.5 million in damage. The tornado had winds of up to 130 mph and was on the ground for about 12 miles, according to the National Weather Service.

Another tornado hit in Ohio, in the Lexington Township near Alliance, about 50 miles southeast of Cleveland, with winds of 75 to 100 mph, damaging a few homes and a school, according to the National Weather Service.

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