River and its
victims move on
BY CLIFF RADEL
The Cincinnati Enquirer
Now, it is someone else's nightmare. The flood struck downriver Wednesday in Illinois. It hit towns whose names we don't know but whose misery we have shared.
At Old Shawneetown, Ill., the Ohio was expected to crest at 55 feet -- 22 feet above flood stage. Sandbagging and flood philosophizing continued in the town with the ancient levee.
''Floods ain't that hard to handle once you know them,'' said Tom Vaughn as he watched his son-in-law struggle to move a mobile home. ''Just keep watching the water rise and keep moving back.''
The water in Cincinnati kept going down. A week ago at 7 p.m., the Ohio crested at 64.7 feet -- 12.7 feet above flood stage.
At the same time Wednesday night, the flood was gone and the river -- safe and within its banks -- stood at 47.4 feet.
Earlier in the day, Ohio Gov. George Voinovich dropped in to see Karen Rolph at her flood-soaked mobile house in Manchester.
The Adams County town lost 250 houses in the flood, many of them were mobile homes.
The governor did not see Karen's home at its best. The walls and floor had buckled. Many of her possessions had been trashed by the flood.
''There ain't much left in here,'' she told the governor. ''But it's mine.''
Despite her losses, her sense of humor remained intact. Karen plans to move her home ''as far up the hill as possible . . . where the tornado might get me.''
On the flood's 12th day, the power of the waters that inundated Cincinnati's riverfront, wiped out Falmouth and began as flash floods in Adams County was far from spent.
Forecasts predicted flooding throughout the month and the middle of America, from Cairo, Ill., to New Orleans. The flood of '97 would continue until the Mississippi River ran into the Gulf of Mexico and the month of March ran out of days.
A muddy flag hangs on the fence at Ferguson's Antique Mall on Kellogg Avenue as vendors remove their items.
(Kevin J. Miyazaki photo)
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