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June 14, 1990: Shadyside Flood

The deadliest flood in Ohio since 1969 occurred in the steep Appalachian valleys of Belmont County late on Thursday, June 14, 1990. The lives of 26 people were lost in this brief flash flood on Wegee Creek and Pipe Creek near Shadyside. Soils were saturated with water from a very wet month of May and tropical air was flowing northward from the Gulf of Mexico early on the 14 th. Rainfall of 5.5 inches, with 3 to 4 inches in an hour, fell onto the steep-sided valleys and saturated soils along Pipe and Wegee Creeks. Nearly all of the water ran off the slopes directly into the creeks, creating a wall of water over six feet high that moved down the creeks. Trees, cars, and collapsed buildings carried in the flow created debris dams at bridges along the creeks, causing higher flood levels and greater flows as the dams broke. Houses and mobile homes were pushed off their foundations and collapsed in the turbulent waters. About 80 homes were destroyed in the flood and another 250 damaged.

Debris continued downstream into the Ohio River and was carried 30 miles to the Hannibal Dam, where it formed a raft of 15 acres. Refrigerators, furniture, toys, tires, dead livestock, and portions of homes mixed with hundreds of trees in the debris. Most of the 26 bodies were found downstream in the Ohio River, washed out of Pipe and Wegee Creeks by the flood.


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