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Published: Wednesday, 2/11/2009

Flood warnings issued for local rivers

BLADE STAFF

Officials in some communities in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan are keeping an eye on the sky and on the water as rain continues to fall across the region where flood warnings have been issued for several rivers.

In northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan flood warnings have been posted by the National Weather Service for the River Raisin in Monroe County, and in Ohio, the Auglaize River near Fort Jennings, affecting Allen, Paulding, and Putnam counties; the Blanchard River at Ottawa affecting Putnam County, the Maumee River affecting Henry, Defiance, Allen, and Paulding counties; the St. Joseph River affecting Allen County, and St. Marys River affecting Allen and Van Wert counties.

In Monroe County, the River Raisin rose sharply overnight Tuesday because of an ice jam, according to the National Weather Service. The ice jam combined with heavy rainfall Wednesday will keep the river above flood stage through Wednesday, the weather service said.

The Monroe County Sheriff s Office reported the ice jam at the Winchester Street Bridge with flooding upstream to the Monroe Street Bridge, and the riverwalk at the Monroe Street Bridge was reported to be under water, according to the National Weather Service. At 6 a.m. Wednesday, the stage was 9.4 feet and rising. Minor flooding is occurring. Flood stage is 9 feet, and the forecast is for the stage to fluctuate around 9.8 feet Wednesday.

In Ohio, some minor flooding already is taking place, and moderate flooding likely will swamp some areas. Flooded basements are a possibility, some officials said.

According to the weather service, an ice jam has formed upstream of Grand Rapids, and a flood warning continues for the Maumee River near Grand Rapids. At noon Wednesday, the stage was 9.5 feet, but was falling rapidly because of the ice jam. Water levels will fluctuate, and a sharp rise in water levels above flood stage is possible at any time, according to the weather service. Moderate flooding is forecast. Flood stage is 15 feet.

A flood warning also has been issued for the Maumee River at Waterville.

Additional rain Wednesday will cause the Maumee River to crest around 17 feet Thursday night. At 15 feet, flooding occurs in lowland areas near Grand Rapids and could cause some secondary roads to flood.

The Tiffin River could flood, affecting Defiance, Fulton, and Williams counties. At 9 a.m. Wednesday, the river s stage was 11.4 feet and rising. Flood stage is 11 feet. The river is expected to crest to near 15 feet about 1 p.m. Thursday. At 15 feet, several rural buildings flood, and flooding begins to affect residents in the village of Stryker and many roads will become impassible.

Some minor flooding is forecast in the Napoleon area in Henry County where the Maumee River is expected to rise above flood stage early Thursday morning and crest around 14.1 feet about 1 p.m. Thursday and fall below flood stage about 5 p.m. Saturday. Flood stage is 12 feet. Wednesday morning the stage was 8.6 feet, but was falling. However, with heavy rain, the river is expected to rise.

At 15 feet, flood water would threaten some buildings in the east end of Napoleon and would close some roads because of high water.

Heavy rains have been reported around the region where the ground already was saturated. Rain is expected to continue Wednesday night as a strong low pressure moves through the region. Rivers and streams are expected to rise rapidly because of significant runoff.

Also, high winds of up to 60 mph are expected to cause problems in the area. A high wind warning is in effect starting at 7 p.m. Wednesday until 10 a.m. Thursday.



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