December 20, 2014

Elyria
Cloudy
28°F
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Vermilion River floods roads, fields

An ice jam is nearly up to the bridge at Mill Hollow at the Vermilion River Reservation. BRUCE BISHOP/CHRONICLE

An ice jam is nearly up to the bridge at Mill Hollow at the Vermilion River Reservation. BRUCE BISHOP/CHRONICLE

VERMILION — With closed roads and watery fields, some Vermilion residents said the flooding that started Friday is the largest they’ve seen in a while.

Ice building up in the Vermilion River at Mill Hollow rose to 14 feet Friday and spilled over the banks around North Ridge Road. Vermilion Mayor Eileen Bulan said city officials were watching the river throughout the day Friday and breaking up ice in the northern part of the river to prevent a bigger jam.

Bulan said she primarily is concerned that water, which backed up near Mill Hollow Friday afternoon, will travel down the river and flood Riverside Drive and the lagoons.

Sharing Bulan’s concern, many Vermilion residents went to see the flooding at Mill Hollow for themselves on Friday.

“I feel better having seen it,” Vermilion resident Clint Delefield said. Delefield lives near the lagoons and said he was initially nervous about the water reaching his property before he saw the flooding in the northern part of the river. “I’ve seen flooding this bad before.”

However, Delefield said all he can do is move items out of his basement and wait to see what happens.

“I’m pleased with the city. The city has done everything they can do,” he said.

Joyce Gate, who used to live in Vermilion and remembers a particularly brutal flood in 1969, said she hadn’t seen an ice jam as bad as the one in Mill Hollow on Friday. Luckily for Gate, who now lives in Amherst, she was far removed from the water on Friday night.

Bulan said the city will continue to monitor water levels throughout the night, adding that officials will move people from their homes if the flooding becomes dangerous.

Like many people in Vermilion, Bulan said all the city could do on Friday night was wait to see if the flooding gets worse.

“It’s very unpredictable,” she said.

Contact Anna Merriman at 329-7245 or amerriman@chroniclet.com.