Rising Waters

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Any town or city that's right along a river can expect to have flooding scenes like this at least once in a while. But the life-long residents of McCconnelsville say they've rarely seen water from the Muskingum River this close to their community.

"Around the early 1960's was the worst I remember. That was before Dillon Dam was put in near Zanesville. Since then, we've pretty much controlled the flooding, but this came up real fast this time,” shares Tony Jones, McConnelsville resident.

The Muskingum's rise can be attributed to heavy rains in communities north of McConnellsville. Zanesville, for instance, received close to three inches of rain over the weekend, compared to the Parkersburg area, which got about an inch.

A boat is about the only way you can get around in this kind of weather. But the boating season ended three months ago. And we're not used to this kind of weather in January.

“And the bad part is, it's supposed to turn cold. We're hoping the water will go down before it's cold enough to freeze. If not, we've got another battle on our hands,” says John Tullius, ODOT worker.

Ohio Route 60 was one of several roads shut down by the flooding. But, before the section near Beverly closed, motorists were taking their chances.

“If you see high water, don't drive through it. Even if you see the road or the asphalt markings, you can't be sure whether the road underneath wasn't washed away,or the culverts weren't washed away, making the road unsafe,” warns Lt Mary Pfeifer, Ohio Highway Patrol.

And in Marietta, the Ohio and Muskingum Rivers just outside the Lafayette Hotel rose above flood stage of 35-feet Monday afternoon.

The latest forecast, issued at noontime, says the rivers at Marietta could be as much as five-feet above flood stage by noon Tuesday.

But some parts of town closer to the rivers began seeing water on their streets.

As of mid-afternoon, these Morgan County roads were closed by high water: State Routes 60, 669, 376, and 266, and County Roads 11, 62, 34, 27, and County Road 2.

State Routes 821, 145 and 60 in Washington County also were reported closed.