Tornado, flood watches posted in northwest Ohio

4/18/2013
BLADE STAFF
Storm clouds gather over Monroe, Mich.
Storm clouds gather over Monroe, Mich.

Tornado and flood watches have been posted for areas west and north of Toledo in anticipation of severe thunderstorms that have already caused flash flooding in the Chicago area.

The National Weather Service office in North Webster, Ind., has issued a tornado watch effective until 5 p.m. for Fulton, Henry, Williams, Putnam, Paulding, Van Wert, and Allen counties -- as well as most of northern Indiana -- and a flood watch for the same area that starts at 2 p.m. and continues through Friday morning. The White Lake, Mich., office has posted a tornado watch for all of southeast Michigan until 6 p.m., and flood watches that also are effective through Friday morning.

"Rainfall amounts in excess of an inch are likely from late this afternoon through early Friday morning. The combination of heavy rainfall ... with already saturated soils and elevated river levels may lead to significant flooding," the North Webster office said in its watch statement, adding that urban and low-lying areas could also flood.

As of 11 a.m., no such watches had been posted for Toledo or areas east of the city, but would appear likely as the strong cold front associated with the storms moves east. Severe thunderstorm warnings were in effect near South Bend, Ind., and west of Kalamazoo, Mich., at that hour, while flash-flood warnings were posted across a wide swath of northern Illinois, where more than four inches of rain fell today, closing several major expressways, flooding neighborhoods, and disrupting rail and air service.