Floods Threaten Midwest, East; Twisters Hit Texas and Florida

from Associated Press

Streams swollen by heavy rainfall threatened parts of the Midwest and Northeast on Thursday with flash floods, and a Wisconsin boy was killed when he was swept down a rushing culvert.

Tornadoes touched down Thursday in Texas and Florida, while severe thunderstorms in Maryland caused scattered power failures and knocked out the radar at Baltimore-Washington International Airport.

Flash-flood watches were posted for western Pennsylvania, where up to three inches of rain fell Wednesday, and for eastern Ohio, where Gov. Richard F. Celeste declared a state of emergency Thursday for Ashtabula County after the area received six inches of rain and was battered by a tornado.

Tornado Watch


The National Weather Service also issued a tornado watch for northern and western Pennsylvania and much of western New York.

In Fond du Lac, Wis., a 10-year-old boy who was playing by a rain-swollen drainage channel was swept away by the raging waters. His mother was injured when she jumped in to save him, and was reported in critical condition at a local hospital.

A twister at Snell Isle near St. Petersburg, Fla., ripped off roof tiles, blew out windows and snatched up patio furniture, while a tornado in the South Texas town of Skidmore damaged a house, a lumber yard and trees. No injuries were reported.

Flood Stage Expected


In Ohio, the Mahoning River was expected to reach flood stage Thursday at Leavittsburg, threatening LTV Steel operations, and at Youngstown on Friday.

Flood watches also were in effect in Chautauqua, Allegany, Cattaraugus and southern Erie counties in southwestern New York as a second day of showers and thunderstorms ranged from the mid-Atlantic states across the Ohio Valley to the Tennessee Valley.

Ohio disaster officials surveyed flood and tornado damage in Ashtabula and Trumbull counties, where up to 4 1/2 inches of rain fell Wednesday morning, followed by a second wave of evening storms that brought two inches of rain.

Tornado Damaged Houses


The weather service said a tornado damaged six houses and injured one man in Ashtabula, and said another twister touched down in Ottawa County near Port Clinton.

The Ohio Highway Patrol said part of Interstate 90 was closed in Ashtabula County, requiring motorists to detour about two miles.

Ashtabula County’s Emergency Management Agency received more than 500 calls from people reporting property damage.