Flood of 1997
DAY 3: MONDAY, MARCH 3, 1997
The Ohio River reaches 61.1 feet at Cincinnati.
The Licking River at Falmouth drops to 49 feet.
Authorities deploy 450 National Guard soldiers in Kentucky and 500 in Ohio.
The Red Cross reports that it has helped 3,000 Ohio families.
Ohio Gov. George Voinovich's office declares 14 counties -- including Adams and Brown -- to be in a state of emergency.
Kentucky Gov. Paul Patton asks President Clinton to declare nine Kentucky counties -- including Pendleton -- federal disaster areas.
Indiana Gov. Frank O'Bannon declares 10 counties -- including Dearborn, Ohio and Switzerland -- as Indiana disaster areas.
Enquirer.Com on March 4, 1997
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Floodwater makes itself at home,
and leaves hundreds homeless

BY CLIFF RADEL
The Cincinnati Enquirer

church
A man found sanctuary from the floodwater in the Southside Church of Christ in Falmouth, Ky., which was used as a shelter.
(Patrick Reddy photo)
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Monday morning's cold, rainy commute into downtown Cincinnati ended in a traffic jam. The Ohio River was double-parked in the city's front yard. Riverfront parking lots were inundated. Produce warehouses became islands. Streets were impassable.
Commuters retreated uptown looking for places to park. More rain fell on the lines of slow-moving cars.
Downtown's flood was inconvenient and slowly destructive from the produce warehouse district to Sawyer Point Park.
At the same time, most of Falmouth, Ky., awoke homeless in shelters. As the Licking receded, the city's residents began to see what the river had done to their town. They stood in small, shocked groups on patches of dry blacktop, separated from the flood's edge by strips of yellow police tape.
In Adams County, Ohio, cleanup operations from Saturday and Sunday's flash floods were under way. So was the misery.
Hazel Godwin stared at the heap of twisted metal that was her family's trailer home. It had been smashed like an empty tin can on Sunday by the violent water of Blue Creek.
church
New Richmond firefighters had to work from boats when a mobile home caught fire.
(Glenn Hartong photo)
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Of her few earthly belongings, this was all she could find that was still worth keeping: One coffee mug. Two framed pictures. A crystal dish. A clock her husband gave her for Christmas.
''We didn't have much to begin with,'' Hazel said. ''Now we don't have a thing we can call our own.''
People in Aurora and Moscow spent the morning evacuating their towns. As they ran back and forth tossing what they could in cars and pickups and dump trucks, the river swelled through their streets.
On the north side of Covington, floodgates went up to hold back the Ohio River. On the southeast side, the overflowing Licking River chased 1,000 people from their homes, just as it had farther upstream in Latonia.
The Ohio rolled into the eastern Cincinnati neighborhoods of East End and California, spilling into basements, surrounding homes, pushing residents back. People guarded their homes as best they could, sleeping in cars, watching from lawn chairs on porches and holing up in second-floor bedrooms.
In New Richmond, as if the flood weren't enough, fires broke out at three abandoned homes. Firefighters had to fight the blazes by boat.
stadium
By Monday afternoon, the muddy Ohio had overflowed its banks downtown.
(Michael E. Keating photo)
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By nightfall, a chilling mist had settled over downtown Cincinnati. Traffic was snarled again as some people tried to go home while many others headed to the riverfront. Seduced by this old stream, people brought themselves and their children down to see the flood.
So much water. Familiar corners and stairways, the Serpentine Wall, Sawyer Point and even Pete Rose Way had all slipped beneath the milk-chocolate mess.
Those who walked the perimeter of the stadium plaza snapped pictures and pointed at everything from roofs to freezers floating downstream. They also held their coats close at their throats. It was cold and wet, windy and thrilling.
They recognized and respected the river's violent power and eerie beauty. They knew many had suffered.
But they also knew they might never see the river this high again.

Day 4, Tuesday, March 4, 1997
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