Tuesday, Jun 28, 2016
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Blanchard River coming down 'very, very slowly' in flooded, inaccessible Ottawa

The Putnam County village of Ottawa remained inaccessible this morning as the flooding of the Blanchard River makes its way through the community.

Steven Odenweller, coordinator of the Putnam County Office of Public Safety, said the river is coming down “very, very slowly.”

“The water is all the way down Main Street, both sides of the train tracks and roads leading up to it,” Mr. Odenweller said.

The Blanchard crested at Ottawa at just under 29 feet at 10 a.m. Monday, Officials consider 23 feet to be flood stage and 30 feet to be major flood stage. As of 11:30 a.m. today the river was at 28 feet.

He said he was hopeful that the flooding would drop by late today below the 26-foot level, which is the point at which main highways can reopen. U.S. 224 and State Route 65 are both closed in the village.

He said all the businesses in the downtown are affected by the flooding, and a few people are being put up in area motels by the American Red Cross. He estimated 20 to 30 homes have had water damage.

“We are just trying to keep people out of the high water areas,” Mr. Odenweller said.

Ottawa, with a population of about 4,400, is 63 miles southeast of Toledo.

The Blanchard flooded downtown Findlay to the east of Ottawa in Hancock County, cresting at 3:30 a.m. Monday morning at about 15.5 feet - about 2 feet above major flood stage. Eleven feet is considered flood stage.

As of 8 a.m. today, the river in Findlay had dropped to 11.74 feet, according to Findlay Police.

Contact Tom Troy at tomtroy@theblade.com or 419-724-6058.
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