Floods cause millions of dollars damage, 3-19-1936
FLOODS CAUSE MILLIONS OF DOLLARS DAMAGE; MANY DEAD
Cumberland, Hancock and Other Maryland Towns Are Inundated Causing Much Suffering and Property Damage; Bridges Are Washed Away
Troops Guard Cumberland; Food Shortage Is Feared
A sudden spring thaw, accompanied by rains and storms spread destructive flood waters over vast areas of the East on Tuesday and yesterday.
Fifteen states and Canada were affected. Fifty-one were known dead and dozens of additional casualties were reported but unconfirmed. Damage amounted to tens of millions of dollars with no definite estimate possible.
Pittsburgh is in a state of almost complete paralysis as water stood fifteen feet deep in some downtown stores; railroad and highway traffic was cut off and power and gas failure left the city in darkness last night.
The famous flood city of Johnstown, Pa., was largely deserted as citizens fled in panic to the hills. Over fifteen feet of water stood in the main streets.
Maryland Towns Hit
Buried under tons of muck, mud and debris, Cumberland's business section last night was patrolled by National Guard troopers and police. City officials last night said the damage would probably exceed $1,000,000 and that weeks will be required to repair shattered display windows, broken fixtures and to replenish ruined merchandise.
No trains were operating, buses were blocked by damaged and inundated highways. Wire communication was still badly crippled. The water reached a depth of six feet in the lobby of the Fort Cumberland hotel.
Other towns in the vicinity of Oakland had flood damage included Keyser and Lonaconing; east of Cumberland many towns including Hancock and Harper's Ferry were inundated with many made homeless.
Peak Due In West Virginia An Ohio river flood of unprecedented proportions was rushing down on scores of West Virginia cities today bringing certain suffering to thousands. While milder floods in the central part of the state receded the Ohio river was rising. Snow and rain added to damage and blocked many highways.
The Ohio was already flowing over Wheeling, Parkersburg, Point Pleasant, Huntington, and scores of smaller towns. Operations at the Tygart dam construction at Grafton have been temporarily suspended. Parsons was without train service and the snow was about 12 inches deep there, at Davis and Thomas. Rivers there, however, were falling.
In its path down the Potomac valley the record high water left property damage conservatively estimated at about $5,000,000. Nearly every bridge from Cumberland to Brunswick has been undermined or twisted from its foundations.
Everywhere the swirling river left destruction. Others sections of Maryland, particularly the Susquehanna river valley, also were menaced. The highwater mark of 36 feet was reached at Harper's Ferry early this morning, the greatest depth in half a century.
The automobile and foot bridge went out but the B. and O. bridge still held.
Hancock had neither electricity or water and one-third of the inhabitants there were homeless.
At present, with limited facilities for news, it is impossible to relate all damage and destruction. People sat at their radios all day yesterday to hear flashes from time to time and Baltimore papers just reached Oakland today, probably having been flown to Cumberland. A later report from Johnstown, by Elbert Nine, indicates that the condition is not as bad as was feared at first. There are several bridges washed away but the crest of the water was over 6 feet lower, than the flood of 1889. Two lives have been lost.
Power for that section is being supplied from the Hydro-Electric power house at Sines, from waters of Deep Creek Lake, eight miles north of Oakland.
In Johnstown Hospital
Miss Clara Bell Hamill, daughter of Stuart F. Hamill, Oakland, was operated upon for appendicitis in the Connemaugh Valley Hospital, Johnstown, Pa., last Thursday, and is now convalescing. The hospital is not in the flooded area of the city.
Ruth Enlow Library, Oakland, Md.
Floods, Maryland, Cumberland, History; Cumberland (Md.),History.
Western Maryland, 1936