Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Deluge for a day: Only 11 have been wetter here

Storm dropped 3.64 in. at airport, up to 7 in Indiana

By Dan Klepal
Enquirer staff writer

Drift hemmed in the Covington Water Emergency boat at the Mike Fink dock Tuesday.
The torrential rain that soaked Greater Cincinnati on Monday is one for the record books.

The 3.64 inches of rain that fell at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport was the second-biggest soaking for any single day in October, the biggest one-day precipitation amount in nearly 19 years and the 12th-greatest rainfall in a single day in the region since the National Weather Service began keeping records in 1835.

Sam McNeil, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Wilmington, said the amount of rain Monday varied. In general, between 3 and 4 inches fell on Southwest Ohio and Northern Kentucky. Indiana was harder hit, with the Lawrenceburg area getting 6 to 7 inches.

McNeil said a meteorological collision caused the rain.

"We had a warm front from the south and a cold front from the north and where the two systems collided is where we had the heaviest rain," McNeil said.

The Metropolitan Sewer District had about 132 complaints from customers who had sewage back up into their basements. MSD officials said they were assuming responsibility for the cleanup of about 15 of those complaints. MSD will foot the bill for backups when they are caused by pipes being too small to handle a given rainfall.

Dennis Madden, a systems analyst for MSD, said complaints were still coming in Tuesday evening.

One complaint came from St. John the Evangelist School in Deer Park. The school was closed Tuesday and will remain closed today because of a backup in its basement, where preschool classes are held. Principal Pat Sand said she hopes the school will open Thursday.

As of Sept. 30, the MSD has paid for 382 cleanups because of water in basements, totaling about $675,000.

MSD's policy changed recently as a result of an agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice and two environmental groups. Before, the MSD paid few damages, referring to flooding as an "act of God."


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