U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, left, and Findlay mayor Lydia Mihalak, right, tour the Blanchard River that reached the edge of the overpass bridge located near 104 S. Main St. in Findlay today.
The Blade/Amy E. Voigt
FINDLAY -- U.S. Sen. Rob Portman toured flood-prone Findlay early today, hours after the swollen Blanchard River reached what the city's mayor called its 11th-highest flood crest.
"Unfortunately, we're getting really good at this stuff, because we've had a lot of experience," Mayor Lydia Mihalik told the senator during his visit.
Senator Portman pledged to press the Army Corps of Engineers to expedite studies needed to develop a flood-mitigation plan for the city, which suffered the worst flood in its history following a summer cloudburst six years ago and has had several lesser floods since then.
Studies should be complete by early 2015, he said.
RELATED ARTICLE: Major flood hits Findlay, closes highways, streets
PHOTO GALLERY: Click here to view photos of flood damage in Findlay.
Mayor Mihalik said the Blanchard crested around 3:30 a.m. at 15.37 feet, which is 4.37 feet above flood stage and 2.07 feet above what the National Weather Service considers a major flood.
Findlay emergency personnel were involved in several water rescues, the mayor said, blaming a majority of them on "people who didn't make the right decision, going around barricades."
The crest had yet to arrive downstream in Ottawa, where major flooding also was occurring early today. Ottawa Mayor Dean Meyer, who accompanied the senator's tour, said it could be one of his village's worst-ever floods.
U.S. 224 remained closed today just west of Findlay because of the Blanchard flooding, as did State Rt. 37 on the city's southwest side.
Flood warnings remained in effect for numerous other northwest Ohio rivers early today, requiring other road closings in low-lying areas. Flooding on the Portage River near Woodville closed both U.S. 23 and State Rt. 105 near that village; State Rt. 19 remained closed near the Ottawa-Sandusky county line because of flooding on Muskellunge Creek, and State Rt. 281 is closed west of State Rt. 25 in southern Wood County because of high water.