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Published: Friday, 12/1/2006

Heavy rain floods 1 Toledo-area school, delays others

BLADE STAFF AND WIRE SERVICES

Heavy rains that continued across the Toledo area this morning ahead of a massive cold front caused storm water flooding that has closed St. Wendelin Catholic High School in Fostoria.

School officials were asking parents to come get students after storm water backed up into the basement of the high school, causing extensive flooding. No word on the extent or cost of the damage was immediately available.

The wind-swept downpours led some other school districts to announce delays and also produced numerous accidents and downed utility poles in some areas.

Hardin Northern, North Baltimore, Port Clinton, and Waldron schools announced two hour delays. Ada schools were on a one-hour delay.

Some northwest Ohio areas that are experiencing high water include low-lying areas in Seneca, Huron, and Sandusky counties.

Several major roads in Seneca County are shut down, including eastbound U.S. 224 between State Rt. 100 and State Rt. 67, which is southeast of Tiffin.

Also closed is three miles of State Rt. 101 between the Tiffin city limits and State Rt. 67.

"Everywhere, the whole county is flooded," said Jackie Panuto, dispatcher for the Seneca County sheriff s office. "The whole county has got [high-water] signs posted everywhere. We have all the signs out that we happen to have."

Ms. Panuto suggests that motorists not attempt to cross roads with water flowing over it because the water may be deeper than it appears.

In Sandusky County, State Rt. 412 is closed between State Rt. 510 and State Rt. 101.

The Fremont post of the Ohio Highway Patrol has reported that at least five cars have been abandoned since 7 a.m. because motorists have gotten stuck in the high water. No injuries have been reported.

In Huron County, there are 14 areas in which high-water signs are posted, Cpl. Dave Luc of the Huron County sheriff s office said.

Most are near Bellevue, Ohio, including State Rt. 113 and State Rt. 4 east of the city and State Rt. 547 south of the city.

U.S. Route 20 south of Norwalk is another area in which motorists should be especially cautious, Corporal Luc said.

Just one county in Michigan is reporting several low-lying areas that are impassible, but all are on back roads. Authorities from Lenewee County suggest motorists stay on major roadways until the flooding recedes.

Forecast

A strong cold front will move across Ohio today ushering in much colder air to the region this afternoon. A few thunderstorms are possible along this front through early afternoon with the primary threat being damaging winds.

Scattered showers will be possible with light snow accumulations around one inch possible with light snow accumulations around an inch possible late tonight.

Looking ahead

Tonight...Mostly cloudy. A chance of snow showers in the evening. Windy and colder with lows in the mid 20s. West winds 20 to 30 mph. Gusts up to 50 mph in the evening. Chance of snow 30 percent.

Saturday...Partly sunny. Highs in the upper 30s. West winds 15 to 20 mph with gusts up to 30 mph.

Saturday night...Mostly cloudy. Cold with lows in the mid 20s. Southwest winds 10 to 15 mph.

Sunday...Mostly cloudy. Highs in the lower 30s. West winds 5 to 10 mph.

Sunday night...Mostly cloudy with a 40 percent chance of snow showers. Cold with lows around 20.

Read more in later editions of The Blade and toledoblade.com.



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