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Hurricane Ike on the Ohio

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Old 09-15-2008, 11:39 PM
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Rabbit Hash, KY and Decatur, Al Shipyards
Posts: 1,160
Default Hurricane Ike on the Ohio

Just got in from Marietta where my son, Jess, and I attended the S&D banquet and heard KPH, Jr.'s interesting after-dinner sideshow and talk. Our rental car overheated as soon as we entered town; so we spent an extra day at the Lafayette until the local branch of the Enterprise car rental agency opened on Monday and we could trade automoiles and head home again. But when I called home to tell of the change of plans, Peg reported Hurricane Ike was roaring up the Ohio Valley with winds gusting up to 85 MPH, tearing down trees and causing general havoc while churning the Ohio River into a smaller version of the Gulf of Mexico. Five persons were killed in the Greater Cincinnati area.

Close to sunset on Sunday the high winds reached Marietta with gusts into the forties, but without the devastation visited upon the lower stretches of the river. By later in the evening, the remnants of Ike passed on to the east and a calm morning found the DELTA QUEEN tied up below the hotel where Jess and I went aboard for a gracious visit with Mate Roger and Steamboat Mary before we swapped cars and headed west.

A river bud, just down the road from the RH Shipyard, sent the following report on the hurricane-on-the-Ohio that should be of interest:

Yesterday we got hit with sustained 70 mph winds from somewhere. Don't know if it was the tail end of IKE, or what, but we are out of power now. 90%of Cincinnati area power is out- 1.6 million people I think they said. It is unprecedented around here. I'm sending this on generator power with a cell phone for the data connection. They say we might be out for a week. Have been out for about 26 hrs at this point.
The Ohio River looked like the ocean yesterday. The waves got so huge that they broke a face wire on my little pusher boat & the stern swung in on the rocks. That shoved my aluminum 20' john boat up on the bank & the tug just laid there & pounded against rocks at the stern & the JENNIE LYNN at the bow for about 2 hrs. Good thing the tug hull is 5/16" plate & has a pretty tough skeg. The rudder may be damaged, I don't know yet. With the help of neighbors & friends I got it faced up again. No holes but all 3 boats got banged up.

We couldn't even stand up most of the time, we had to hold on for dear life to anything available. Inside the shantyboat everything was falling around. It was all I could do to hold the front door shut against the wind. I've never seen anything like this! The tug was leaping out of the water then slamming into the shantyboat, hanging by the one remaining face wire. The little air cooled generator was on the deck of the tug rolling all over the place tied by one line. My neighbor Butch crawled out there on his hands & knees taking huge waves that almost washed him overboard several times. He got another line on it.

Eventually we re-attached the broken face wire to the barge then took a strain on it with the hand winch. Every time the tug bounced off the rocks we gained a few clicks on the winch. We got the little diesel generator started then used it to power a pump and we flooded two forward compartments in the tug so it would help lift the stern off the rocks.

After we got faced back up I pumped the water back out. D*MN, I never want to go through anything like that again!

The evening news reported that the lower end of the Ohio took an even worse beating with over 200 homes destroyed. The RH Shipyard escaped with minor damage confined to the loss of several trees that deserved their fate, and the outhouse was tipped off its foundation, but that also happens every Halloween.
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