Winter storms wreak havoc

January 11, 2005

Floods and Mudslides Hit Ohio, Indiana and California. Across Ohio, Gov. Bob Taft declared a state of emergency for 49 counties, with some of the most severe damage across the central and southern parts of the state.

Across Ohio, Gov. Bob Taft declared a state of emergency for 49 counties, with some of the most severe damage across the central and southern parts of the state.
The flood is said to be as challenging as the one last fall when southeast Ohio region was pummeled by the remnants of several hurricanes in September 2004.

It is still very early to have hard numbers and damage estimates, but it is estimated that about one-half of the more 9,000 residents flooded out last September in Marietta will be flooded out again this time.

Many families who were living in trailers provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) until their homes were repaired, were forced out by floodwaters this time.

In Indiana, the story is similar. Many areas are still waiting for rivers to crest. The White River was at its highest level since 1913 at Newberry and Bloomfield in Greene County, according to the National Weather Service. The east fork of the White River in southwest Lawrence County was at its highest level since 1937. The White River is forecasted to crest at 30 feet above flood stage on Wednesday.

The worst flooding over the weekend was in Greene, Daviess, Knox, Gibson, Pike, Dubois, Martin, Lawrence, Orange, Jackson, Washington and Posey counties in southern Indiana, according to regional reports from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. National Guard troops are helping sand-bag flood-prone communities.

Twenty-seven shelters were open housing more than 1,000 people across Indiana on Sunday. About half of these evacuees were staying in shelters in the Muncie area, where a power outage hit hard in the wake of an ice storm

Another storm system is expected to hit Indiana later this week, which could cause more flooding.

While in California, up to 6 inches of rain were expected to soak coastal areas through Tuesday, January 11, with 12 to 24 inches in the coastal mountain and valley areas. Rainfall rates were forecast at times to be more than one-half-inch per hour.

Up to 2 feet of snow was predicted in the mountains above 7000 feet.
Flash flood warnings, advisories and watches were posted throughout most of southern California. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) issued a landslide advisory for the region as well.

The storm downed trees and caused mudslides, flooding and power outages, making travel hazardous throughout the area. Hundreds of traffic accidents were reported and numerous roads and highways were closed due to flooding, slides and trees downed across roadways.
Some evacuations were reported, including a recreational vehicle park in Ventura County, about 75 miles north of Los Angeles, and a mobile home park in Santa Clarita northwest of Los Angeles.

With the ground already saturated from up to four days of downpours, forecasters warned that the additional rainfall could cause even more severe flooding. Officials were also closely monitoring burn areas for flooding and mudslides.

UCC National Disaster Ministries is continually checking in with Conference Disaster Coordinators. So far, not many calls for assistance have come in, but the situation is expected to change as the water recedes.

How you can help

1. Pray for people who live in communities affected by floods and mudslides.

2. To help those affected by disasters you may, send gifts payable to your congregation marked for "Emergency USA " with the request they be sent through your Conference office on to Wider Church Ministries.


3. Send gifts, made out to Wider Church Ministries and marked in the memo portion "Emergency USA" to the Office for Global Sharing of Resources; Wider Church Ministries; 700 Prospect Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44115.


4. Make a secure on-line donation now to Emergency USA.

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