Flooding observed around region

Staff Reports

December 22, 2013

LIMA — Heavy rains falling Saturday atop already saturated soil led to flooding Sunday throughout the area. Moderate flooding was expected along local rivers, as the National Weather Service issued a flood warning.

In Columbus Grove in the West/Clancy Street area, a steady rhythm of pumps could be heard as residents pumped waters from their homes due to flooding from Plum Creek. Many basements were flooded, and the waters had extended into several homes. Putnam County Emergency Management Agency Director Steven Odenweller said several people in the area had to be rescued after driving vehicles into high-water areas.

“We don’t expect it to crest until sometime (Monday),” Odenweller said. “U.S. Route 224 is closed, as are several other secondary roads.”

In Putnam County, the sheriff’s department reported state Route 65 closed at 7 p.m. Sunday as waters continued to rise. Deputies said all roads from the Allen-Putnam county line to Road X were closed.

Odenweller said the area has been a spot of frequent flooding because it is in a low-lying area, and a clean-up project several years ago in the creek caused water to slow down once it reaches that area.

Dave and Kathy Radabaugh live right along the creek and said they began pumping at about 2 a.m. Sunday morning, but the water receded only about 3 or 4 inches by about 2:30 p.m.

“Our basement is flooded, and water got into the furnace and water heater, so we do not have any heat right now,” Dave Radabaugh said.

JoAnn Gerding, of 400 W. Sycamore St., Columbus Grove, said the basement was flooded clear to the top, and the water reached as high as one step from coming into the home’s first floor. She said there had been temporary power outages also.

There are already flood warnings for the Auglaize River near Fort Jennings, Blanchard River in Ottawa, St. Marys River in Van Wert County. There is one piece of good news: There is no significant additional rainfall expected today.

The weather service did cancel its flood warning for Allen County at about 9 a.m., according to the Allen County Emergency Management Agency. In Auglaize County, the flood warning was extended at 4:30 p.m. Sunday to 7:30 a.m. Monday morning. The National Weather Service issued an official report at 5 p.m. Sunday that stated several secondary roads in Logan, Mercer and Shelby counties were still closed.

Auglaize County EMA Director Troy Anderson reported that the St. Marys River crested at about 12-foot above normal at about 12:30 p.m. but receded. He said one family in Uniopolis was relocated after being threatened by flood waters. About 400 homes temporarily lost power. In Noble and Salem Townships, Midwest Electric customers lost power and several customers in the western part of the county lost power when there were problems due to flooding around a substation.

Officials reminded residents to never drive on flooded streets, as it can be difficult to tell how deep the water really is.

The Lima Police Department reported some flooding on various streets existed in and around Lima, including through Faurot Park. As of 5 p.m. Sunday, all streets were open, but the LPD reported Faurot Park was still heavily flooded.

The Bath Township Police Department warned of water across the 2100 block of Stewart Road, 4000 block of Sandusky Road and the area of Bluelick Road and North West Street early Sunday morning.

The Bluffton Police Department reported flooding of streets throughout the village, including Main, Riley, Spring and Vance streets. The northbound Interstate 75 entrance ramp closed at Bentley Road as a result. Sand bags were available at the EMS building. An officer at the BPD said all roads were open by 3 p.m. but Buckeye Park was still underwater.

Near Van Buren in Hancock County, the Findlay Office of the Ohio State highway Patrol reported both the northbound and southbound lanes of Interstate 75 were closed at 12:15 a.m. Sunday due to flooding just south of state Route 613 in a low-lying area. Traffic was detoured until the road opened back up at 4:30 a.m.

In Ottawa, the swollen Blanchard River was in moderate flood stage at 27.06 feet at 6:30 p.m. . The National Weather Service’s Advanced Hydrological Prediction Service predicts it will crest at 1 a.m. Tuesday at 28.9 feet, just short of reaching the major flood stage of 30 feet.

Still, that level could make it the sixth-worst flooding in recorded history, topping the 28.72 feet in a March 2009 flood. At 27 feet, flooding worsens on the south side of Ottawa, with water on several roads. Six of the top 10 historical crests are since 2005.

The Auglaize River in Fort Jennings was at 11.6 feet and rising at 4 a.m. Sunday. Flood stage is 13 feet, which it hit Sunday morning. It could crest at 16.2 feet around 7 a.m. Monday before falling below flood stage around 1 p.m. Tuesday.

In Hancock County, a list of high water spots blocking roadways swelled from 12 at 11 p.m. Saturday to 43 spots as of 5 p.m. Sunday. The Hardin County Sheriff’s office reported that several roads were still underwater as of 10 p.m. Sunday.