October 24, 2014

Elyria
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Potent storms cap off weeks of unsettled weather with flooding and heavy gusts

Some Lorain County residents were literally swimming in their front yards Wednesday afternoon after a booming storm front swept through, soaking the area.

LaGrange resident Casey Hurst said her children were playing in several feet of water that reached the patio of her home until she decided that it might not be a good idea for them to be out in the storm. Hurst said she planned to clean the breezeway of her home, which she estimated was flooded with 1½ feet of water.

“We’ve had some flooding, but nothing like this,” she said, looking at the front lawn.

Hurst, who lives on the corner of Church and Forest streets, said drivers were re-routed around heavy flooding on Forest near the Church of Christ, and Taylor Street was shut down. Cones blocked a portion of Forest at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, but many drivers took their chances and drove around them.

More photos below.

Flooding wasn’t limited to LaGrange. Roads were closed throughout southern Lorain County, was Wednesday’s storms added to 16 straight days of rainfall in Greater Cleveland. It was the longest stretch of rain during the summer months of June, July and August since at least 1900, according to the National Weather Service.

The county received about three inches of rain Wednesday with most in southern Lorain County, according to Jim Kosarik, a weather service meteorologist in Cleveland. He said a tornado warning was issued, but no tornado was spotted.

About 100 Ohio Edison customers in Lorain County lost electricity by 4 p.m., according to company spokesman Joe Faga. Faga said crews whose shifts were ending were kept on to restore power. All electricity had been restored by 10:30 p.m., according to the website of FirstEnergy Corp., Ohio Edison’s parent company.

Judy and Chuck Bodey, who live on Whitehead Road in LaGrange, said it was lucky that their home maintained power; otherwise, they may have been partially underwater like their neighbors. The Bodeys, whose backyard partially flooded, said a sump pump kept water at bay.

Their neighbors, whose driveway was flooded by several inches of rain, weren’t so lucky. “We have neighbors who lost their wheat crops,” Chuck Bodey said.

A LaGrange police dispatcher said no injuries were reported during the storm, but said the village had “a lot of water, really fast.”

Resident Rose Dobbins said state Route 303 and Dill Court were hit hard with flooding up to the creek. Dobbins said a neighbor’s yard was flooded, but her yard was just “soupy.”

The storm, producing strong wind and rain, moved east at 45 mph, knocking out electrical lines around the county and downing tents at the annual Community Days festival at the Shoreway Shopping Center, 4128 E. Lake Road, Sheffield Lake. “It made the Ferris wheel go by itself, full blast, like the engines were on,” said Mason Shamoon, an assistant superintendent for Kissel Brothers Shows, the company running the festival.

Shamoon said the storm was not the worst since he began working at the festival in 1997, but was very bad. Workers repaired damage Wednesday evening, and Shamoon said he didn’t expect the storm would hurt attendance.

“They’re good to us here,” he said. “People will come out.”

Wind also downed a tree in Juan Becerra’s backyard at 2313 E. 31st St. in Lorain, smashing the rear windows of his brother and sister’s cars. Becerra said the tree was rotten and Councilwoman Anne Molnar, D-at large, had been calling city officials to have it cut down.

“We already knew it was going to fall down,” said Becerra, who said he expects insurance will pay for the damage.

Kosarik said residents soon will have a chance to dry out. Skies are predicted to be clear for the rest of the week. “We could use a break,” Kosarik said.

Reporter Evan Goodenow contributed to this story. Contact Chelsea Miller at 329-7123 or cmiller@chroniclet.com.