Rain ends in the Midwest, but flood waters continue to rise
The rain may have stopped, for now, but rivers are still bursting their banks and major flooding is occuring all across the United States.
People are today assessing the damage done to their homes and property, and reliving what it was like to experience that amount of rainfall.
Jeff McCord, who lives in Dallas, told NowPublic that local meteorologists had been warning the city for a few days that heavy rains were coming, but that nothing could have prepared him for what actually fell from the sky. "It was a rainy morning but nothing atypical" he writes, "until around noon, where the skies literally opened. I, just like hundreds if not thousands of other Dallasites, was driving to a lunch appointment when the heavens opened and I literally had to pull onto the side of the highway. You couldn't see 10 feet ahead of you and it was truly an unbelievable experience. He writes that he does not know how much rain fell exactly, "but I know we received inches of rain in less than 2 hours" he states.
Sylvia Mason, who lives in Witts Springs, Arkansas, says that today is a beautiful day today, and that many people in her neighbourhood are out assessing the damage done to their homes. "Thankfully we don't have much damage," she tells NowPublic, "because we are on the top of a hill, but people in the low-lying areas, near the creek bed are having to fix a lot of damage. There are many bridges out," she says, "especially low bridges, and Buffalo National Park is closed, and many fences have been washed away." Ms. Mason has lived in the area for 32 years and hasn't seen this kind of rainfall since 1982. "We had to bail water out of our basement while it was raining," she says, "but it's mostly the back roads that are flooded and have bridges washed away. The river has risen to only 6ft lower that the level of the Buffalo Bridge," she tells us, "and I've never seen the water that high, ever."
Stephanie Dowdy from Illinois tells NowPublic that she had 14 inches of water in her basement. We are still checking to see if our washer, dryer, hot water heater, and deep freeze are going to work" she says. "We had furniture and tools down there that are probably a total loss too." But she insists that they are lucky compared to some of their neighbours. "A guy three doors down had four feet of water in his basement," she tells us, and "our next door neighbor had it pouring in their front door when cars would try to drive by." She gives all the credit to the rescue workers and volunteers in her town. "We are a very tight community and we will pull through this" she says.
Hopefully today is the beginning of some much needed sun to dry out the water-logged land in the Midwest.
While the first day of spring brought much needed sunshine Thursday to Ohio and other states, authorities warned that many rivers would crest well above flood stage.
Flooding also was reported Wednesday in parts of Arkansas, southern Illinois, southern Indiana, Missouri and Kentucky.
The storms moved on toward the Ohio Valley and Northeast, spreading snow over northern New England. A parallel band of heavy rain stretched from Alabama and Georgia to the Mid-Atlantic.
On Thursday morning, high water closed the eastbound lanes of Interstate 70 -- a major east-west highway -- for about 4 miles in central Ohio's Licking County, the State Highway Patrol said. The flooding was receding by midmorning, but there was no estimate of when the lanes would reopen.
13 people have died since the storms started a few days ago and many people are still missing.
Authorities warned that many rivers would crest well above flood stages, causing further worries for residents dealing with swamped homes. Several days of rain that followed melting of up to 20 inches of snow in some parts of the state caused the flooding.
In southwest Ohio, where most areas received more than 4 inches of rain, a 65-year-old woman apparently drowned Wednesday in Hamilton County's Whitewater Township after checking on her home's sump pump, authorities said.
About 4 miles of one side of Interstate 70, a major east-west highway, was closed Thursday morning by water in central Ohio's Licking County, the State Highway Patrol said.
The interstate flooding was receding by midmorning, but there was no estimate of when the lanes would reopen, said Kate Stickle, a spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Transportation.
Morning commuters trying to reach downtown Columbus from the south were detoured off heavily traveled U.S. 23 because its northbound lanes were flooded.
Numerous traffic accidents were reported early Thursday in the Dayton area when water on roadways froze. The American Red Cross provided hotel vouchers for eight people who were flooded out of their apartments Wednesday in the Dayton suburb of Kettering.
Storms that dumped as much of a foot of rain on the Midwest Wednesday caused more than a dozen deaths.