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Ohio tornado confirmed; rain spurs flooding threat

CEDARVILLE, Ohio (AP) — Flood watches remained in effect across much of eastern and northern Ohio Thursday as communities recovered from several days of heavy rain and storms, including a tornado that destroyed several buildings in western Ohio.

APTOPIX-Ohio-Storms Sidd

Roger Dobbins, right, and friend Keith Rose dig through the rubble left on Dobbins' farm Thursday, May 15, 2014, the day after a tornado destroyed it in Cedarville, Ohio. Flood watches remained in effect across much of eastern and northern Ohio Thursday as communities recovered from several days of heavy rain and storms, including a tornado that destroyed several buildings in western Ohio. (AP Photo/The Dayton Daily News, Darin Pope)

The National Weather Service predicted an end to the precipitation and some falling temperatures Friday and into the weekend.

Preliminary information indicates a tornado that struck in Greene County had an estimated maximum wind speed of 145 mph, the weather service said.

The Dayton Daily News reported fire crews rescued seven people from the basement of a house that was flattened near Cedarville. Officials said everyone was OK.

"You watch it on television, and you see them on television all the time," Cedarville police Chief Chris Gillaugh told the newspaper. "But to see it and actually know that it's destroying places and things, you have a whole other respect for it."

Communities under a flash flood watch Thursday included Coshocton, Guernsey and Muskingum counties. Flood watches also were issued for several counties in southeast and northern Ohio.

A flood watch was to remain in place overnight Friday in northeast Ohio, meteorologist Frank Kieltyka said.

Flooded roads were reported in Marion in north-central Ohio, and several communities in southern and central Ohio reported hail.

High rain waters caused yet another delay in returning Ohio's historic sternwheel towboat to the Ohio River Museum.

The W.P. Snyder, the nation's only remaining steam-powered sternwheel towboat, had been moored at the confluence of the Muskingum and Ohio rivers for about a week after undergoing repairs.

High waters from recent storms prevented the boat from getting under the Putnam Bridge to the museum.

The Marietta Times reported Thursday that the Ohio History Connection moved the boat to West Virginia protectively amid weather service predictions of water levels up to 32 feet, three feet below flood stage.

Ohio Insurance Director Mary Taylor encouraged residents and businesses with weather damage to call their insurance company as quickly as possible and document damage to cars and property with photographs.

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