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3 Die as Thunderstorms Rampage in Ohio Valley

July 23, 2003|From Associated Press

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A line of thunderstorms swept through the Ohio Valley toward the East Coast on Tuesday, killing three people, including two Ohioans who drowned in a laundry room where they were trapped by rising waters.

In Tennessee, 75-year-old John Price was crushed to death when a tree fell on his home as a thunderstorm tore through Memphis, knocking over trees and tearing off roofs.

Power outages virtually shut down Memphis International Airport, and Northwest Airlines, which has a hub there, advised customers expecting connecting flights to delay their travel plans.

In Ohio, 18-year-old June Young Pak and a man whose age and identity were unavailable were found dead Tuesday morning in a condominium complex in suburban Cleveland. Pak had entered a basement laundry room to help the man when the water rose and trapped them both, the medical examiner's office said.

Heavy rain caused several Ohio counties to declare states of emergency. A tornado damaged about 100 homes in Youngstown on Monday, and a 10-year-old boy drowned in a rain-swollen ditch.

Three bridges at an Akron apartment complex were washed out by heavy storms Tuesday, stranding about 200 residents. A 45-minute hike through dense woods behind the complex provided the only other way out, officials said.

Ashley Heeney, 25, took that hike with three other residents.

"We had a hard time staying afoot," she said. "We were slipping and sliding. We were holding onto trees. It was pretty dangerous."

She said she had worried that if her apartment became flooded, emergency workers would not be able to reach her.

"I was just concerned about my personal safety," she said.

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