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Flash-flooding wreaks havoc throughout area

August 05, 2009
Some call them "gully washers," some say they are "frog drowners" and others say it's "raining cats and dogs," but whatever name or term is used, the rain that fell Thursday on already soaked ground and ran off the hills into the creeks and streams, covering roads and proving that Mother Nature still has the upper hand.

The rain, which many said was as much as four or five inches in some areas of Crawford County, fell within a two-to-three-hour period, which proved to be more than a few waterways could handle. Water was over the roadway along some areas of S.R. 62 around West Fork and Sulphur Springs; "Rainbow Curve" on S.R. 237 experienced some flash flooding.

"We had to help a family on Hardy Road near Marengo," Deputy Sheriff Shawn Scott said. "Their mobile home was surrounded by water and was about to be washed off its foundation. (Deputy) Jeff (Howell) and I waded out to the trailer and got the mother and her daughter and a pot-bellied pig out to dry land. We made another trip and brought their cats to safety, also. At the bottom of White Oak Hill, a car was washed down the road a ways, and there was a car stranded in the water near the old Poe Lumber building. Marengo Fire Department helped with that."

"The guy was going south on S.R. 66," Marengo Fire Chief Phil Jones said. "He drove through a little water by Poe Lumber and made it through. But when he got to White Oak Hill and saw the car stranded in the water there, he turned around and came back. But when he got back to Poe Lumber, he thought he could just drive through it again, but the water had come up a lot after he went through the first time and his car stalled out.

"The water was coming up about six inches every few minutes. When we got there, the water was almost up to the windows. One of our firefighters put on a floatation device and a rope and was able to pull the guy out of the window. He couldn't get the door open. Right after we got him out, the water washed the car around in the road."

"There was a car stalled right in the middle of the road by the old Poe Lumber Co.," Jim Smith, who lives across the street, said. "The car stalled when it entered the water, and the driver stayed in the vehicle. Just a few minutes later, the water was almost up to the windows of the car.

"The Marengo (Volunteer) Fire Department came with their equipment, and some of the guys waded out and got the person out. A little later, a wrecker came and pulled the car out," Smith continued.

"The water came up quick and lacked about a foot getting into our old furniture store just below our house. The creek goes by the old Poe building, and there's another little branch that feeds into it. If debris piles up in it, the water will come up fast. We actually had water in our store years ago. We cleaned it all up and a week later it happened again."

At a nearby house, a dune buggy-type vehicle parked in the yard was washed almost a quarter of a mile down the creek.

"And there was a little trailer that was made from an old camper parked nearby," Jones said. "It floated by us, and I thought it would end up in the creek. But, instead, it floated over toward one of the old buildings by the creek that had double doors, which were open. The trailer floated in there and stopped, with the tongue pointed out, as if someone had parked it in the building. It stayed there until the water dropped.

"There were also two or three cars that were parked at the American Legion that were under water for a while. It was really odd because only the south side of town was affected by the water. The old town had no problems at all."

Scott said a flash-flood warning was issued for the county, but only minutes later, the rain came in torrents.

"We were lucky," he said. "There were no injuries reported, and three or four vehicles were damaged. I think there may have been some roads affected in the area, and one bridge or culvert may have washed out on an area road. And state highway crews had to remove boulders the size of pumpkins off the highway near Hardy Road."

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