Flood of 1997
President Clinton declares 14 counties in Ohio and nine in Kentucky federal disaster areas.
The Ohio River surges past 63 feet.
Flooding along the Ohio and its major tributaries is blamed for at least 16 deaths in Ohio and Kentucky.
Ohio and Kentucky place damage estimates to homes and businesses at more than $330 million.
More than 5,000 families have been forced from their homes in the two states.
Ohio Lt. Gov. Nancy Hollister tours flood-ravaged Ohio communities, ending her day at New Richmond in Clermont County.
About 1,200 of New Richmond's 2,500 residents are without mail delivery.
Cincinnati firefighters rescue about 70 people from floodwaters.
Enquirer.Com on March 5, 1997

One home is a tomb;
in another, the clock ticks on

The Cincinnati Enquirer

Tim Dudgeon, John Miller and Donnie Schuck reosrted to boats and waders to get through the streets of Aurora, Ind.
(Kevin J. Miyazaki photo)
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Elizabeth Kraczek almost escaped. The spry little old widow with the German accent made it out of her Falmouth home. She beat the floodwaters of the Licking River that destroyed much of the city. She made her way to a shelter and spent the night.
But she decided to return to her one-story home, the place she rarely left. Maybe she had to check on things. Maybe she wanted to make sure the afghans and doilies she crocheted for extra money were OK.
Search crews found her body Tuesday. Elizabeth Kraczek was at home.
The fourth day of the flood was a day of stark contrasts.
Only the "Don't Walk" signal was need along Pete Rose Way downtown.
(Michael E. Keating photo)
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In Cincinnati, the sun came out and put a bright light on the scene of the Ohio River's worst flooding since 1964. The expanded shores of the Ohio were bathed in a sea of water that changed in color from mud brown to rust to copper to an orange-tinted salmon pink as the sun ducked in and out of high-flying clouds.
Another flood hit the riverfront: Gawkers. The sunshine brought them out -- with cameras in hand -- to see the river. They flowed onto the plaza level of Cinergy Field to get snapshots of the water racing under the Suspension Bridge. They took pictures of workers setting up the floodgate at Stadium Drive and Pete Rose Way. Some even stopped their cars -- and traffic -- on the bridges to get mid-stream shots.
In Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana, at least 6,000 flood refugees didn't have time to think about snapshots, except those they lost to the high water. They were homeless and already tired of sleeping in strange rooms.
In Aurora, California and New Richmond, rowboats were the only mode of transportation through the streets.
In the Falmouth home of Virgil Rarrieck Sr., the waters climbed to about 5 feet, just under the still-ticking kitchen clock.
(Patrick Reddy photo)
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In Falmouth, where flood waters continued to recede, some east-side residents were able to visit their homes -- or what was left of them -- on foot.
The 1964 flood, from which it took Falmouth three years to recover, spared the home of Virgil Rarrieck Sr. This time he knew he would not be as lucky. When the flood struck, he said his prayers and ''watched the water rise up like when Moses parted the Red Sea.'' Virgil Rarrieck was among the first in Falmouth to return home. The house was still standing. Inside he found a water line 5 feet up his kitchen wall. The water had stopped right below the pendulum clock that was still ticking.
Three inches of mud -- ankle-deep, as sticky as wallpaper paste and reeking like a sewer -- covered the floor.

Day 5, Wednesday, March 5, 1997