- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 21, 2004


A town in Ohio brought out snowplows yesterday to clear the muck away. In New Jersey, the Statehouse was closed after its parking garage was flooded by the Delaware River.

In Wheeling, W.Va., the riverfront park and amphitheater were under water, with only the tips of light poles visible. And parts of downtown Port Deposit, Md., were off-limits after the Susquehanna River spilled into city streets.

The remnants of Hurricane Ivan brought ruinous flooding to the mid-Atlantic states after causing misery across the South. Yesterday, officials worked to clear streets of water and debris, return people to their homes and search for the missing.

“There’s no doubt that the bulk of the work is yet to be done,” said Brig. Gen. Jessica L. Wright, head of the Pennsylvania National Guard.

The Ohio River crested over the weekend at 9 feet above flood stage in Marietta, Ohio, where streets were still under water yesterday and about 200 people were forced to leave their homes. Officials predicted 6 inches of mud would be left behind in downtown businesses.

“Our guys are putting snowplows on as we speak and getting ready to try to move the muck as soon as the water goes out,” said Mayor Michael Mullen. Throughout eastern Ohio, about 1,700 people were out of their homes.

The scene was similar in Port Deposit, a low-lying town in northeastern Maryland on the Susquehanna River. About 200 of the town’s 700 residents were told to evacuate. Floodwaters were expected to begin receding overnight.

“We’ve got lots of mud. We’ve got lots of debris,” Deputy Mayor Kerry Abrams said from an emergency command center at Town Hall.

In Wheeling, only the tips of lamp posts and treetops marked the town’s riverfront park and amphitheater, which were submerged on Saturday.

Statewide, about 290 homes and at least 31 businesses were destroyed in West Virginia. More than 160 roads and bridges were still closed yesterday, state emergency officials said.

Ivan and its remnants were blamed for at least 52 deaths in the United States and 70 in the Caribbean. Much of the destruction was caused by flooding in the storm’s wake.

An overflowing creek sent 4 feet of water into the county courthouse in Kittanning in east-central Pennsylvania, and several sewage plants along the Susquehanna were knocked out.

Flooding along the Susquehanna forced evacuations from Scranton to Harrisburg, and dozens of people had to be rescued by boat. More than 1,000 Pennsylvania residents along the Delaware were also evacuated as the river began overflowing Sunday.

In New Jersey, officials closed the Statehouse and several other state buildings in downtown Trenton after the Delaware River sent 5 feet of water into the Statehouse parking garage. Both houses of the Legislature canceled their sessions.

Recovery efforts also continued in the South.

In Cullasaja in western North Carolina, workers used heavy equipment and cadaver dogs to search for four persons missing after a mudslide.

In Navarre Beach in Florida’s Panhandle, where Hurricane Ivan came ashore, homes and cottages were missing roofs, garages and balconies.

“We can’t live there for a while, but it’s there,” 44-year-old Bob Evans said after inspecting his three-story home. The bottom floor was demolished, but everything else was intact.

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