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Floods hit Mid-Atlantic

Mid-Atlantic states from Ohio to Indiana to West Virginia were nervously watching swollen rivers - with more rain on the way.


Mid-Atlantic states from Ohio to Indiana to West Virginia were nervously watching swollen rivers by Friday afternoon - with more rain on the way.

On Friday afternoon, high water was plaguing parts of Indiana. Owen and Greene Counties in western Indiana were both under a state of emergency as the White River rose.

In Greene County, emergency manager Roger Axe was up all night watching the river rise and helping the town of Jasonville get water after floods knocked out some Jasonville water plant pumps.

The goal now is securing water for the town's 2,500 residents, said Axe.

"We're really holding our breath right now watching this river. I've been told the river will crest in two or three days at 31 feet. The flood stage is only 18 feet. This is supposed to rival any flooding we've seen in 70 years."

Several residents had been evacuated from their homes in Greene County by Friday afternoon, but Axe said shelters were ready to be opened as needed.

"This is just one of those things where we had major snow two weeks ago, then it thawed, and now we have this excessive rain," said Axe.

In central Indiana's Shelby County, residents of Shelbyville were able to relax after the Little Blue River stopped rising Thursday night. "We were prepared to evacuate many people, but we were able to breath a sigh of relief," said Jack Boyce, director of emergency management for Shelby county.

But across the county, several families are out of their homes. Boyce added that a dramatic water rescue happened at one area factory Thursday night, but fortunately no one was hurt.

Isolated flooding also happened around Indianapolis. According to Marion County Emergency Management Director Steve Robertson, several families in the Frog Holler and Ravenswood neighborhoods are out of their homes, which is an unfortunately common occurrance in those areas.

"We are fortunate that there's been no loss of life, no power shortages - but we expecting another two inches of snow today," said Robertson.

Across the northern panhandle of West Virginia, many homes are flooded as the Ohio River escaped its banks. Both Wheeling Island and Hancock County's New Cumberland are said to very hard hit, yet counties all along the river are experiencing rising water.

Emergency management officials are tallying damages but those estimates will not be complete until the water recedes. The same areas were hit hard in September after the remnants of Hurricane Ivan drenched the area. Officials are saying this round of flooding is not as bad.

Residents of western Pennsylvania were also nervously watching local creeks and rivers on Friday afternoon. Across Pittsburgh, boroughs that were ravaged by flooding after Hurricane Ivan, like Etna and Carnegie, are keeping an eye on flood warnings. Many roads have been closed as creeks flood their banks.

South of Pittsburgh, the Houston fire chief issued a voluntary evacuation for several low-lying streets after water starting entering some of the homes.

Major flooding was occurring by Friday morning at Prospect, Ohio (on the Scioto River) and more major flooding was expected in Marietta, along with additional areas in Mercer and Auglaize counties, according to the now-activated Ohio Emergency Operations Center (EOC).

Major flooding was also expected along Killbuck Creek and the Ohio River.

The Saint Mary's River was expected to rise within 2-3 feet of the flood levels of July 2003.

The American Red Cross had opened eight shelters by Friday morning. Twelve additional non-Red Cross shelters were also open, according to the EOC.

Members of the Ohio Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster indicated they were communicating regarding resources available to the affected areas.

Tuscarawas County has a potential dam problem and preparations were made to evacuate south of the Dover Dam. Morgan County officials were executing search and rescue operations and boat evacuations at McConnellsville. Other affected counties reported evacuations as well.

"VOAD agencies have volunteers to assist with relief, warehousing is available and items are available for families in need at the Byesville Disaster Warehouse," reported Mary Woodward of Lutheran Disaster Response. "The warehouse will extend hours as needed."

The EOC is located in Columbus.

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