Northeast OH, Northern WV, and Western PA area flood, Dec 1942


River Overflows in Valley View and Independence

Excessive melting snow, added to heavy rainfall in the Cuyahoga River watershed south of Cleveland, yesterday resulted in high water which blocked roads in the river valley in Independence and Valley View in the region of the old Ohio canal.

Fitzwater Road, where it joins Canal Road in Valley View, was under nearly four feet of water last night, according to County Engineer John O. McWilliams.

"Traffic was blocked off on the several minor roads crossing the Cuyahoga River as it is each spring when the ice starts out," McWilliams said.

Independence police reported that Fitzwater Road was flooded Tuesday morning, but that later in the day it was usable. Yesterday, because of heavy rains in the southern section of the county, the river rose and in less than an hour the roadway was again covered with four feet of water, police said.

Blame Crookedness of River

They explained that the reason for the high water was the extreme crookedness of the river bottom which cannot carry the flow of water, which in turn overflows the banks, flooding the lowlands.

Nearly seven miles of the river valley is flooded, but no families are endangerd, police reported.

The single-track line of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, which runs between Cleveland and Hudson is threatened in several sections of the valley but railroad officials expressed no immediate fears.

Weather predictions for today indicate continued cold and snow flurries during the morning. This would not tend to alter the situation in the area.

County officials battled a minor log jam late yesterday at the Granger Road Bridge in Valley View, using a heavy mobile crane to remove the key logs before the stoppage became serious.

Independence police reported the logs came from the region of Hillside Road, where some clearing operations are being carried on in woods near the river bank.

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...sweep of water was serious and set up a disaster headquarters here to direct defense corps units ordered to duty in Ohio River communities.

He sent W. J. Burns, assistant director, to Steubenville to help direct evacuation of the villages of Empire and Stratton.

The State Highway Department ordered fleets of trucks into those communities to aid in the job. All evacuees were moved, together with household furnishings, into school houses on higher ground, Stone said.

Two thousand defense corps volunteers were ordered out in Steubenville alone, while units at Martins Ferry, Wellsville, Bridgeport and East Liverpool already were on duty or standing by for directions.

A crew was sent from Steubenville to Weirton to help hoist vital steel-making machinery above the threatened water level. Others patroled roads.
Youngstown Steel Mills Hit

YOUNGSTOWN, O., Dec. 30 - The Mahoning River, already five inches above flood stage, continued to rise two inches an hour here tonight, despite a temperature drop to freezing.

The high water and a landslide in West Virginia, which curtailed gas, brought shutdowns in at least five Mahoning Valley industrial plants.

Republic Steel Corp. shut down its plate mil because water made operation dangerous.

Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. prepared to suspend some operations if the river came up six inches more.

Truscon Steel Co., fabricator, laid off half of two night shifts working on war contracts because of lack of gas. The Carnegie-Illinois Steel Corp. shut down soaking pits at its McDonald plant, pending a switch from gas to fuel oil for heating.

The Mahoning River continued to rise even after gates were shut at Lake Milton, 18 miles west of the city, where the reservoir controls the river's flow to valley industries. Shutting of the gates cut off 90,000,000 gallons a day from the river.

In downtown Youngstown, firemen in boats took several families from low-lying homes and rescued a few persons whose automobiles stalled in water, which in some cases was five feet deep in the streets. This water came from sewer backups.

Republic Steel's downtown Besemer plant continued to operate although the plant was forced to bring its hot metal to the converters over a short stretch of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad instead of using railroad tunnels on plant property, which were flooded.

NEW CASTLE, Pa., Dec. 30 - Once again the Pymatuming Dam stood between New Castle and dangerous flood waters. Only the huge dam in Crawford County saved this city from floods today.

The Neshannock and Shenango Rivers were both high, the Shenango rising to 16 1/2 feet.

SHARON, Pa., Dec. 30 - Cots from the new army camp were rushed here today to aid 50 persons made homeless by high waters of the Shenango River.

St. John's Church and Buhl Girls Club were opened to the famileis and canteens set up to feed those in need. Most of the families were from lowlands in Sharon and Wheatland.
Cresting in Pittsburgh Area

PITTSBURGH, Dec. 30 - (AP) - The worst December flood in the history of the upper Ohio River watershed was cresting tonight after forcing numerous war busy plants to close, disrupting street, rail and bus traffic and driving hundreds of families from their homes. One drowning was reported.

Muddy waters surged up many downtown streets here, lapping against sand-bagged buildings.

At 9 p. m., the Ohio River, formed here by the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers, was 36 feet deep, 11 feet above flood stage but 11 feet below the 1936 stage. Its rise of six inches an hour had tapered off to about two inches an hour.

Fitzwilliam Worcester, 20, of Wurthemburg, Pa., near New Castle, a college student home on Christmas vacation, drowned while boating with a companion on swollen Slippery Rock Creek. John M. Caughey, jr., 19, son of a pastor, saved himself by grabbing a bridge support after the canoe had capsized.

The Plain Dealer, Cleveland, OH 31 Dec 1942