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Published: Sunday, 12/3/2006

Rains push rivers to flood stage

BY MEGHAN GILBERT
BLADE STAFF WRITER
The Blanchard River spilled over its banks, flooding Findlay streets after 1.74 inches of rain fell. Other northwest Ohio rivers also saw flooding, but not as severe as the Blanchard. The Blanchard River spilled over its banks, flooding Findlay streets after 1.74 inches of rain fell. Other northwest Ohio rivers also saw flooding, but not as severe as the Blanchard.
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FINDLAY - The winter storm that passed through the area left parts of Findlay underwater yesterday as the Blanchard River flooded due to the heavy rain.

The flood stage of 11 feet was breached about 11 a.m. Friday and by 10 a.m. yesterday the river rose to a peak of 14.7 feet, said Tom King, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Cleveland.

As of 4 p.m. yesterday, the river had begun to recede slightly and was at 14.2 feet.

Yesterday's rising water met the criteria for a major flood stage, which is reached when the river tops 13 feet.

Other rivers throughout northwest Ohio also saw flooding, but not to the extent of the Blanchard.

The Maumee River rose more than a foot above its flood stage near Waterville when, at 3 p.m. yesterday, the river was at 10.3 feet. Flood stage is 9 feet. At the same time farther southwest along the Maumee, the water level was 14.4 feet near Grand Rapids, which is below the flood stage of 15 feet. However, the water was expected to continue to rise to 16 feet by this morning.

The Portage River near Woodville rose above its flood stage of 9 feet with water levels recorded at 10.3 feet early yesterday morning.

And the Sandusky River near Tiffin measured six inches above its flood stage of 8 feet at noon yesterday.

"Each river responds in its own way, and each river is an individual," Mr. King said. "Where a couple inches of rain in the Findlay area caused the river to go into a major flood, other rivers are wider and deeper and don't respond the same way as the Blanchard did."

Findlay police received numerous complaints from businesses and residences near downtown that were flooded because of the rising river.

The LaRiche Chevrolet-Cadillac car dealership on East Main Street was noticeably affected with a parking lot that looked more like a lake. Employees had to hurriedly move vehicles away from the business before they became stranded and damaged by the water.

Police asked motorists to avoid Center Street, Osborne Avenue, East Lincoln Street, and East Street because they were most affected by the rising water. North-south routes across the river were restricted to Bright Road, Osborne Avenue, Broad Street, and I-75.

Friday evening, the Hancock County Sheriff's Office reported about 20 flooded roads and asked drivers not to attempt to travel through any water-covered surface.

During the course of the storm, 1.74 inches of rain fell on Findlay.

In the Toledo area, 2.17 inches of rain was measured at Toledo Express Airport; 1.33 inches at Metcalf Field in Wood County's Lake Township. Fort Wayne, Ind. saw 1.41 inches; with 1.45 inches in Defiance.

The storm left its mark in other areas where high winds caused major damage.

A Perrysburg couple will be meeting tomorrow with an insurance company representative after a large tree fell on their two-story house Friday, crashing through the roof of an upstairs bedroom. The kitchen and other rooms also were damaged.

Ron Stewart said he was in bed when he heard a thud about 7 a.m. The tree smashed through the ceiling of his residence, 223 West Fifth St.

"There was just debris everywhere. I was trapped in the bedroom, but luckily we have a closet that opens up into the next bedroom and I was able to get out that way," Mr. Stewart, 72, said.

Mr. Stewart said he checked on his wife, Roberta, 70, then looked around the house. He said the tree damaged most of the appliances in the kitchen and another room as well.

The tree was about 160 years old, Mr. Stewart said, "so it was a big tree."

"I think we're fortunate that no one was hurt," he added.

The couple is staying temporarily with a relative, he said.

Today is expected to be partly sunny with highs in the low 30s with a 30 percent chance of snow showers tonight. Tomorrow there is a chance of continuing snow showers in the morning, but it should become partly sunny by afternoon with highs in the upper 20s.

Staff writer Clyde Hughes contributed to this report.

Contact Meghan Gilbert at:

mgilbert@theblade.com

or 419-724-6050.



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