November 28, 2014


Lorain County Commissioners declare state of emergency after flooding

Elyria police Officer Mike Barmstadt observes flooding at Fairwood and Arlington courts in Elyria after a rainstorm May 12. The occupant of the car got out safely. CHRONICLE FILE PHOTO

Elyria police Officer Mike Darmstadt observes flooding at Fairwood and Arlington courts in Elyria after a rainstorm May 12. The occupant of the car got out safely. CHRONICLE FILE PHOTO

ELYRIA — Lorain County commissioners Wednesday declared a state of emergency in the county because of the heavy storms that led to widespread flooding last week.

Alice Webber, emergency operations manager for the county Emergency Management Agency, said the amount of rainfall May 12 and 13 meant it was being considered a 500-year storm.

“It’s the worst one I’ve been through in 23 years,” she said.

Commissioner Ted Kalo said in North Ridgeville, which was particularly hard-hit and saw some residents evacuated from their homes by boat, the storm might have risen to the level of a 1,000-year flood.

Webber said the flooding caused extensive damage throughout the county, including destroying several homes. Many homeowners, including all three county commissioners, saw their basements flood.

The damage wasn’t confined to homes.

North Ridgeville High School had water as high as 2½ to 3 feet inside the building, prompting the school district to cancel classes during the cleanup.

According to the National Weather Service’s website, the Cleveland area received 2.64 inches of rain May 12, although rain totals were higher or lower in some places. There also was a confirmed tornado with 86 mph winds that touched down for about five minutes in Eaton Township.

County officials have been gathering reports of storm damage with an eye toward recording enough damage so that they will be able to apply for disaster aid through the state. Webber said that so far more than 1,500 callers have reported damage.

She said the damage that can be counted toward receiving state aid must have come from structural damage or 18 inches or more of water inside a home that includes a living area, which means for a flooded basement or a split level house to count there must have been a bedroom in the flooded portion of the house.

The county number that was set aside to receive damage reports, (440) 329-5117, was so overwhelmed with calls last week that it often rang busy and the voicemail quickly filled up.

Commissioner Tom Williams suggested that the EMA put together a way for people to report damage online, but Webber said that wasn’t necessary because of the hotline the agency has in place.

In other business, the commissioners approved taking out a $2.2 million bond to pay for repairs at various county facilities.

County Administrator Jim Cordes said the county has delayed maintenance in recent years in an effort to save money, but some of the work needed to be done.

“It’s things that needed to be taken care of,” Cordes said. “Roofs don’t last forever, (and) buildings need work.”

Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or Follow him on Twitter @BradDickenCT.

  • Brian_Reinhardt

    They declare an “emergency” more than a week later?

    I knew they were slow but really?

    • Mark B

      They probably had to get a “Study” done before they could make a decision

    • Drew B

      The had to pray about it first…priorities…

  • stillsleepyeyes

    they had to wait for word from the almighty gardwennie………………………he had to figure out how to profit from all this……………..

  • Phil Blank

    Yes, rare, but they happen,.
    July 4, 1969: Independence Day Flood
    The most devastating summer flooding in Ohio history struck north-central Ohio during the state’s stormiest Independence Day. Severe thunderstorms moved from Lake Erie into North Coast communities at about 8 PM on July 4 th, 1969. This line of storms became nearly stationary for eight hours from Toledo southeastward through Fremont, Norwalk, Ashland, and Wooster. Flooding, winds up to 100 mph, tornadoes, and lightning caused 41 deaths and injured over 500 people. More than 10,000 homes were damaged and 104 small businesses were destroyed. Severe weather developed over Lake Erie after 6 PM and moved southward toward the Ohio shore with strong winds, heavy rain, and intense lightning. Several people were killed by falling trees. Most of the hundreds of small pleasure boats anchored along Lake Erie made it safely to shore but U.S. Coast Guard ships rescued 100 boaters. Four boaters drowned. Most of the damage from the July Fourth storms resulted from extreme rainfall that fell overnight. Total rainfall was 10 to 14 inches from Ottawa County to Wayne County. On the flat, poorly drained land of Ottawa and Sandusky Counties, fields were flooded as far as the eye could see. Record floods were reached on the Huron River, the Vermilion River, and the Black River. Most sections of Ashland and Wayne Counties were flooded and isolated for two days after the flood. Killbuck Creek in Holmes County rose 20 feet to its highest level known
    January 21, 1959: Statewide Flood
    January 26, 1937: Statewide Flood
    March 14-18, 1907: Floods Sweep Southern Ohio

    • Mark B

      How could that be , they didn’t have Global warming back then !

      • Phil Blank

        Not all storms in Ohio or elsewhere have anything to do with Global Warming. Look for “severe weather in Ohio” You’ll be surprised.

        June 23, 1882: Mystery Wave Sweeps Cleveland
        Large waves arriving from a calm Lake Erie have hit the North Coast at least twice, in 1882 and 1942. Seven people were drowned in the 1942 wave, reported to be up to 15 feet high from Bay Village to Geneva. The 1882 wave was more than 8 feet high. It came ashore at 6:20 A.M. “carrying before it everything movable and some things supposed immovable.” Huge logs were carried hundreds of feet inland, fires were extinguished at the Lake Erie rolling mill, barges tossed onto dry ground, and the mooring lines snapped on ships. Distant thunder was heard offshore ten minutes before the wave hit and a heavy cloud was observed over the lake. The lake was calm and the approaching wave swept along silently until it reached shallow water, where it made a loud “swishing noise and broke on the shore with a great roar.” No strong wind was reported that morning from shore. There was no report of a large wave elsewhere on Lake Erie and no reports of an earthquake. It seems likely that violent thunderstorm winds several miles offshore from Cleveland created a large wave that moved toward the shore. A similar explanation may apply to the 1942 North Coast wave, as lightning was observed offshore

        • luvmytoaster

          Sarcasm…..heard of it?

    • Carrie Watson

      I heard about the flood of 1969 at Cascade Park and saw some pictures. Absolutely mind-boggling!

  • GreatRedeemer

    Good for them, if the area is considered a disaster area the
    people affected can get low cost loans and such.

    I’m concerned however, that the article also mentions that
    the county will issue AKA borrow over $2 million in bonds. The county always says there broke and need
    more money. I’m wandering exactly what repairs this will entail.

  • Lori Craycraft

    of course there has to be restrictions, I don’t fit the criteria, but my losses were great. I am going to have to pay thousands to do repairs and replace things, not counting any black mold that may be appearing. But leave it up to the commissioners to find a way to make money and then cry broke when it comes time to help the residents

    • johns62

      what criteria? I think there’s info missing from things Ive been told

      • Lori Craycraft

        18 inches of water in basement or lower part of a split level house, must include 1 bedroom, must have structural damage

        • Carrie Watson

          I don’t understand why it has to include a bedroom. If you’ve got structural damage, that should be enough.

          • Otter

            Structural damage, or 18″ of water in a living area, that must include a bedroom. So if you have a basement, that includes your utility room, a home gym, man cave, kids play room, etc. unless there is a bedroom or structural damage you are SOL.

  • ekwaykway

    “There must have been a bedroom in the flooded part of the house.” So it wasn’t flooded if there was no bedroom in that part of the house. Huh?