Flooded States Tackle Mud, Water Cleanup

<i> From Associated Press</i>

Homeowners pulled up soggy rugs Monday and shoveled up the muck left by some of the worst flooding in the mid-Atlantic states in decades, while sump pumps chugged away, draining cold, muddy water from basements.

“First you shovel out the mud. We’re still shoveling out,” said Linda Payne of Marlinton, W. Va. “Everything you open you’ve got to dump water out, dump mud out and then start cleaning it.”

Discarded rugs were strewn along the main street of Margaretville, N.Y., in the Catskills. High water there from the east branch of the Delaware River also destroyed businesses.


“In the spring of ’87 this area flooded, but nothing like this,” said Brian Millen, owner of Catskill Offerings, a department store. “This is your 100-year flood. It’s just devastating.”

Flooding from the melting snow and last week’s heavy rain had forced thousands from their homes in parts of Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, New Jersey, Maryland and New York.

An estimated 100,000 in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., were ordered out for much of Saturday; Pennsylvania officials estimated damage from the floods and the Jan. 7 blizzard at $700 million.

At least 32 deaths were blamed on the flooding in Pennsylvania, in addition to more than a dozen other deaths elsewhere over the last week that were blamed on cold weather and slippery roads.

There was still enough snow and ice in Harrisburg, Pa., to block firetrucks when a fire broke out in an evacuated historic neighborhood. Firefighters had to wade through water to reach the blaze, which destroyed four houses.

In eastern Ohio, water-pumping stations were submerged, and about 10,000 residents of Martins Ferry soon will be without fresh drinking water when storage tanks run dry. Some parts of the town already had no water.


Flood damage to a water treatment plant in Maryland left 5,000 to 10,000 people in and around Hagerstown without drinking water. National Guardsmen were sent in with emergency supplies.