After an abnormally dry July and early August, serious storms in the Toledo area Monday caused flooding and prompted concerns about tornadoes.
Sirens briefly sounded in Lucas County about 4:30 p.m. after a law enforcement officer spotted rotating clouds over Waterville Township, according to the Lucas County Sheriff’s Office.
The National Weather Service issued a flood warning for Lucas and Wood counties Monday, lasting from 9:10 a.m. until 3 p.m. In addition, portions of Defiance, Fulton, Henry, and Williams counties were under a flood warning until 5:30 p.m.
Some Toledo-area underpasses were flooded, slowing motorists and prompting some to seek alternate routes.
The National Weather Service reported numerous road closures in the Toledo-area.
Numerous roads throughout Lucas and Wood counties were closed, according to the National Weather Service, most notably in the Perrysburg, Haskins, Oregon, and Toledo.
Jeff and Amy Bobak of Perrysburg were having a security system installed early Monday when the worker putting in the alarm told the Bobaks their basement was taking in water.
“We went down there and within five minutes to 10 minutes there were 6 inches,” Mr. Bobak said.
The family had furniture, electronics, a fridge, water heater, and carpet in the water of the Village of Brookhaven home.
Some residents in that southern Perrysburg neighborhood near Five Point Road said flooding is a common problem during heavy rain.
Beth Larson said in the seven years she’s lived in a relatively new subdivision her basement has flooded six times.
“I haven’t finished my basement because of it,” she said. “We have three sump pumps and it failed today. We have three inches [of water] in the basement.”
She didn’t call for professional clean-up crews, instead she used squeegees to sop up the water. She already protects her possessions in the basement by using plastic storage bins.
At a home nearby, Jim Rader was waiting for help to deal with the 4 to 5 inches of water on his basement drywall and furniture.
Mr. Rader thinks 80 percent of the homes in the neighborhood were flooded. He said by about 2 p.m. several disaster-relief companies were telling callers they wouldn’t be out until Tuesday.
“We’re pumping all the water in the yard, the pump couldn’t handle it,” said Tommy Meeks, crew leader for Cousino Harris. “Needless to say we'll be busy all day.”
Karen Oudeman, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service said that 2.04 inches of rain had fallen as of 2 p.m. at Toledo Express Airport, where the agency has an observation site. In isolated spots in Perrysburg that number was 5-6 inches, she said.
According to a 30-year average, normal July rainfall in Toledo is 3.23 inches. This July, Toledo received only 0.83 inches of rainfall. Ms. Oudeman said that before Monday, August rainfall was about an inch below normal levels. After Monday, she estimated that rainfall would be about an inch more than normal levels.
The downpour led to an increase in calls placed to Toledo area plumbers.
Mike Arnold, dispatcher for Roto-Rooter Plumbing on Telegraph Road, said the company received a rush of calls during the afternoon because of the heavy rain.
“Around 1 [p.m.], it started going crazy,” he said.
Mr. Arnold estimated that were 15 calls within about 25 minutes during the afternoon, with a majority coming from Perrysburg. He said his company received about 35 jobs in all. He said there were a variety of issues, involving everything from sump pumps to driveway drains to sewers.
Josh Barfield, owner of Ace Plumbing on Douglas Road, said he received a “massive” amount of calls Monday.
He said Ace may receive one call regarding a sump pump every other day typically. Monday he estimated there were 30 calls related to sump pumps or flooded basements.
Morning thunderstorms also caused power outages. In Maumee, lightning struck a transformer about 8:45 a.m. at West Wayne and Ford streets, leaving many in the area without power, according to a Maumee police dispatcher. Authorities say power was restored by 10 a.m.
Jennifer Young, a spokesman for FirstEnergy Corp., said as many as 1,200 people in the Toledo area were without power about 11 a.m.
Contact Brian Buckey at: email@example.com or 419-724-6110.