Rains close roads, cause headaches for farmers

Several counties face flash-flood warnings

Mat Hudson of Point Place works on clearing a drain on the flooded 12th hole of the Toledo Country Club after being swamped by rain.
Mat Hudson of Point Place works on clearing a drain on the flooded 12th hole of the Toledo Country Club after being swamped by rain.

Day after day of rain over waterlogged northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan prompted flood warnings and placed farmers' hopes for even a decent season further out of reach.

Parking lots became water hazards. Rural fields resembled the start of rectangular ponds.

"That's why this used to be the Black Swamp," said Alan Sundermeier, extension educator for Ohio State University extension in Wood County. "We have good drainage systems, but that water has to move out for drainage to occur."

After buckets upon buckets of rain fell Wednesday and Thursday, The National Weather Service issued flood warnings for the Maumee River at Waterville and near Grand Rapids; the Blanchard River near Findlay; and the Portage River at Woodville.

High water caused numerous road closings late Thursday, including East Main Cross Street under the Osborn Avenue bridge, and at South Blanchard Street in Findlay. The Bowling Green post of the Ohio Highway Patrol reported that State Rt. 2 in Williams County was closed because of high water at Blosser Road and close to the Indiana line.

The Wood County sheriff's office said Greensburg Pike was closed between South Dixie Highway and Rudolph Road. Also closed were State Rt. 281 between Brillhart and Range Line roads, and Wapakoneta Road between Euler and Sand Ridge roads, and Sand Ridge between Wapakoneta and the Henry County line.

The Ohio Department of Transportation office in Bowling Green reported the closings of U.S. 224 between State Rt. 67 and Seneca County Road 17; of State Rt. 19 between Sandusky County Road 153 and Township Road 83, and State Rt. 105 between U.S. 23 and Township Road 139 in Ottawa County.

A slow-moving line of storms Thursday afternoon from Sherwood to Hicksville, Ohio, caused the National Weather Service in northern Indiana to post flash-flood warnings for parts of Defiance County plus Henry, Fulton, and Williams counties.

"The last thing we need is more rain," said Justin Thompson, Fulton County emergency management director.

The county was under a flash-flood warning late Thursday.

"We have a lot of water sitting, but we're not really flooded per se yet," Mr. Thompson said. "Thankfully we don't have a whole lot of major roads that have low spots in them."

The National Weather Service at Toledo Express Airport recorded nearly an inch of rain between midnight and 8 Thursday night. The total rainfall for May through Thursday night was more than 5 inches, compared with the normal of 2.58 inches, according to the weather service. The weather service recorded 4.69 inches at the airport at this point in May, 2010.

In a 48-hour period ending Thursday evening, Defiance Memorial Airport received 4.51 inches of rain, the weather service reported.

Farmers by now should have completed planting corn and soybeans, Mr. Sundermeier, the Wood County extension educator, said. In Wood County, farmers have planted only 30 and 40 percent of their corn crop and, maybe, 10 percent for soybeans.

"Warm temperatures, sunshine, and wind can do wonders," he said. "There's still hope for getting crops planted, but it's getting critical. This is very unusual. It's out of our control, and it causes stress, but that's the nature of the business."

Most farmers do have crop insurance, should they not be able to plant, he said.

Organizers of the 31st annual Main Street Port Clinton Walleye Festival were optimistic. The festival offered carnival rides Thursday night and begins in full force at 5 p.m. Friday. The parade is at 1 p.m. Saturday.

"It has never rained on the Walleye Festival parade in 30 years, and we anticipate making that record 31 years," said Judi Halstead, a spokesman for the event. "We've struggled through a very long winter, and we are due. If it's a warm, humid day, that's great. People can get on the rides and cool themselves off and buy some lemonade and just enjoy the festival."

The weather service calls for a 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms Friday, with high temperatures near 61, and a 30 percent chance Saturday, with highs in the lower 70s.

The following roads were announced closed in Findlay as of 5 a.m. Friday.

  • South River Road from Broad Avenue to County Road 140;
  • Howard Street from Broad Avenue to behind the west Walmart;
  • Stanford Parkway from Westfield Drive to County Road 140;
  • East Main Cross Street from South Blanchard Street to Osborn Avenue;
  • County Road 236 from Heatherwood to State Route 568;
  • High Street fom Blanchard to Wilson;
  • Wilson from Lawn to High Street;
  • Hemphill from Carnahan to Berry Lane;
  • South Blanchard Street from East Sandusky to East Main Cross Street;
  • River Street from Apple Alley to Liberty Street;
  • East Main Cross Street from Marcelle to Bright Road;
  • Findlay Street from Shinkle to Marshall;
  • Marshall Street from Washington to Findlay Street;
  • Ford Avenue from Findlay Street to River Street;
  • River Street from Liberty Street to Western Avenue;
  • Smith Street from Clinton Court to Cross Avenue;
  • Dunn Street from Clinton Court to Cross Avenue;
  • Cross Avenue from Hemphill to North Blanchard Street;
  • Frazer Street from Fox Street to Broad Avenue.