Death Toll Mounts, 3-19-1936
Death Toll Mounts As Swirling Waters Move Into New Territories
Pestilence and Shortages of Food and Water Intensifies Terror, Destitution and Misery
PROPERTY DAMAGES MOUNT TO TENS OF MILLION OF DOLLARS
Nation’s Capital Preparing for Rise of Potomac River; Sandbag Walls Thrown Up Around Washington Monuments and Lincoln Memorial
BY H. H. HIPPELHEUSER
The worst floods in eastern United States history moved menacingly down into western Virginia and Ohio today, claiming a reported death toll of at least 71.
Pestilence and shortage of food and water intensified the terror, destitution and misery. Uncounted thousands were homeless. The property damage mounted into tens of millions of dollars.
After paralyzing Pittsburgh at its source—where the Monongahela and Allegheny rivers slowly receded after a night of terror, with the steel metropolis in darkness, inundated and isolated from the outside world—the Ohio river swirled down its broad valley, sweeping widespread death and destruction along with it.
With terrifying swiftness, the river swept over Wellsburg, West Va., then plunged down to Wheeling where its devastating force brought greatest fury.
Wheeling Island, in the middle of the river between the West Virginia and Ohio shores was quickly inundated and isolated. Several thousand persons were stranded. The river rushed into the town so rapidly it was impossible to estimate its crest.
Early in the day, a toll of nine lives from drowning in Wheeling had been counted. Four more persons were killed in an explosion.
In the early dawn, seven feet of water flowed over Main street. The YMCA, YWCA and all public buildings were thrown open for shelter for the homeless. I
On down the Ohio, as far as Huntington, 200 miles away, residents along the river hurried to adjacent hill-lands.
Johnstown Free of Water
In Johnstown, Pa., after two days of horror brought on by memories of the great disaster of 1889 when the Conemaugh river carried some 2,000 persons to their death the flood waters subsided almost to normal.
Thousands of persons straggled back to their homes after news that the Quemahoning dam, focal point of greatest danger, was safe.
Here and there, some rivers receded, but over all the east, the danger to many localities was still acute. Greatest danger in New England was along the Connecticut river, which broke through dams, washed away many bridges and flooded numerous towns and cities.
In New York state, the center of damage was around Binghamton A serious shortage of drinking water threatened the city.
With continued rains forecast for (page 8)
Cumberland Evening News
Floods, Maryland, Cumberland, History; Cumberland (Md.),History.
Western Maryland, 1936