By Frank Lewis
Storms caused extreme damage to portions of eastern Scioto County Tuesday night leaving many roads limited to one lane on Wednesday morning as crews busied themselves removing trees across roads and one, in Franklin Furnace, from a propane tank.
Many people captured photos of what is called a Mothership, or Shelf Cloud, — a huge cloud wall which was spotted in several areas of the county.
“That was a very unique phenomenon for this area,” Kim Carver, director of the Scioto County Emergency Management Agency, said. “And for it to be on a long track like that where it was literally impacting the states of Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia is very unusual.”
Shelf clouds often form at the leading edge of a gust front or outflow boundary from a thunderstorm, or strong winds flowing down and outward from a storm. The outer part of a shelf cloud is often smoother with a notable rising motion exhibited by a tiered look (hence, the name shelf cloud!). Underneath, a turbulent, unsettled appearance is often the case.
A shelf cloud should be seen as a harbinger of strong winds, so take caution.
Carver said over a hundred trees were downed in the Franklin Furnace area, and county workers and members of the fire department were up overnight clearing trees off roadways.
“In talking with (Scioto County Engineer) Craig Opperman this (Wednesday) morning, he said everything he had was east of state route 52. he has all the roads open. Some have just one lane, but he has all these roads open this morning,” Carver said. “I just talked to George Moore and they’re all open except for Oakes Road where their Fire Station number 2 is for Green Township. And they have a situation with a tree on a propane tank. They kept the road closed all night so that wouldn’t spark and cause a fire out there until they could get that tank off-loaded. Anywhere you go in Franklin Furnace, you’re going to see storm damage.”
Carver described the storm as a county-wide flood event and an eastern Scioto County wind event.
Another by-product of the storm was heavy flooding in both Portsmouth and New Boston.
“We had to shut down (U.S.) 52 east in the 3700 block of Rhodes Avenue for about an hour because of about three feet of water,” New Boston Village Administrator Steve Hamilton said. “Fifty-two east had about two feet of water.”
Hamilton said his crew was called out and Fire Chief Chris Bender came with two men as well to assist where there was standing water.
“We did the best we could to keep cars out of the water but we had some cars that got abandoned in the water,” Hamilton said. “When its high water like that people need to slow down and watch out for people that are trying to work and to help get them through slow. They go flying down through there splashing everybody. It’s not very funny when you’re out in the middle of the rain and you’re dealing with people’s basements flooding. You’re dealing with trying to keep people safe and then you’ve got drivers that just don’t care and runs through and splashes all the service trucks and workers.”
Hamilton said his workers had their hands full cleaning up Wednesday and he was in the process of dealing with two roof issues.
“We had damage to the police department roof. We’ve got damage to the community building roof,” Hamilton said. “They’re both leaking.”
He said the work of installing 72 inch lines to separate the runoff from the old combined sewer system will alleviate much of the flooding in the future.
Frank Lewis can be reached at 740-353-3101, Ext. 252, or on Twitter @FrankLewispdt.