PIQUA – The hovercraft rally being held in Piqua this weekend fell victim to the storms and high water.
Water in the Great Miami River was already at precariously high levels when hovercraft organizers and participants moved to the flood plain on the east bank of the river on Friday.
Severe thunderstorms and torrential rains brought a halt to Saturday’s events.
A round of storms in the afternoon left the area rain-soaked. As evening fell, water began to rise rapidly. In a short, two-hour time span, the Great Miami River rose out of its banks and rally participants found their vehicles standing in two feet of water.
Organization member Chris Fitzgerald said that the group was in a meeting at the Piqua Comfort Inn when someone said that another line of storms was moving in and they better check on their equipment.
Rally members, with assistance from Piqua residents, managed to drag and pull the most threatened vehicles from the flood plain overnight. Fitzgerald said that it took nearly two hours to tow one stranded vehicle out of the water.
By Sunday morning, the waters had receded somewhat but the flood plain was standing in mud.
Four-wheel drive vehicles were utilized to pull trailers, some that had six inches of water standing inside, back to the top of the levee.
Sunday’s endurance races were called off due to the results of Saturday’s storms.
In spite of the weather difficulties overnight, Fitzgerald said that organizers considered the Hovercraft Rally in Piqua to be a success.
“Scott Brownlee is the reason we are in the area,” said Fitzgerald, ” and both Piqua and Troy have been great to us,” pointing out that the Tipp City resident has been a force behind the rally for almost 40 years.