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Rivers begin to recede, still causing problems

pemberville flood
Flooding in Pemberville

FINDLAY, OH (AP) -- The Blanchard River in northwest Ohio began receding Thursday, falling short of August's historic highs but still causing havoc and evacuations of homes and businesses.

The river reached 16.5 feet at 5 a.m. but had dropped to 16.3 feet at 9 a.m., said Marty Thompson of the Cleveland station of the National Weather Service who monitors river levels. Flood stage is 11 feet.

Precipitation in the area had diminished to snow flurries, and the river was expected to fall below flood stage Friday afternoon, the weather service said.

"The heavier rains have moved out," Thompson said.

Many people had just begun to get their lives back to normal after flooding in August displaced hundreds and caused millions of dollars in damage.

"Those in the flood areas that got hit the hardest last August got hit again pretty hard," said Jim Barker, the city safety director. "Some were reluctant to want to leave again, with the projection being about 2 feet lower than the August flood. Some chose to stay."

The river had gone to more than 7 feet over flood stage in August, resulting in the city's worst flooding since 1913.

"We had the place completely gutted," said Scott Adams, who owns a downtown music store. "I don't see fixing the place again."

Adams spent Wednesday loading guitars, drums and amplifiers into a trailer. Only a few empty display cases were left in his shop.

Linda Crace emptied her basement and garage, putting a lawn mower on her porch, boxes of clothes in her dining room and a washer and dryer in the kitchen.

"Not again," she said. "You don't get used to it, you just deal with it."

Barker said although the water isn't as high as in August, a winter flood poses its own problems.

"This weekend, we're going to contend with temperatures in the teens for highs," he said. "That's going to challenge our street department, to get these roadways cleared. Once the water does go down, I'm sure we'll have a lot of ice on the streets."

Much of the state remained waterlogged Thursday morning following three days of heavy rain and melting snow. Flood warnings remained in effect throughout west-central, northwest and northeast Ohio, from Toledo to Cleveland to Youngstown.

Elsewhere in northwest Ohio, firefighters removed about 30 people from their homes and businesses because of high water in Wapakoneta. A foot of water surrounded one trailer park, said fire chief Kendall Krites.

Near Toledo, high school students were helping build a sandbag wall to protect Pemberville's downtown business district from the rising Portage River. A dirt dike burst near the confluence of the Tiffin River and Bean Creek on Wednesday, emergency services director Bob Hartman said.

No homes were in danger. But the state Department of Transportation had closed 88 state and federal routes in eight northwest Ohio counties, with most remaining closed overnight. ODOT also postponed repair work scheduled for Thursday on a bridge on Interstate-475/U.S. route 23 in the area.

In Yellow Springs in western Ohio, high water on the Little Miami River hampered efforts of law enforcement officials who searched Clifton Gorge Nature Preserve on Wednesday for a Beavercreek man who was reported missing on Monday. The search for Ronald Rodney, 64, whose minivan was found in parking lot at the preserve, was to continue Thursday, said Jane Beathard, an Ohio Department of Natural Resources spokeswoman.

Across northeast Ohio, yards, roads and parking lots were under water and flooding threatened buildings. Schools were closed as were services at the Stark County Board of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities in Canton.

In the Warren area north of Youngstown, a foster parent and seven children were evacuated and the Animal Welfare League of Trumbull County rescued dogs tied outside a home.

In Elyria, heavy rain caused the collapse of the roof of a flea market and water and gas mains were ruptured. There were no injuries.

In the southern part of the state, emergency officials were watching rising waters on the Ohio River and the Great Miami River.

But the biggest worry remained in Findlay, where Municipal Court was to be closed Thursday because of flooding.

One of the town's funeral homes said it would delay services until Thursday evening, while another said it would wait until Friday to resume visitation and religious services.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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Who is Covered?

I totally agree with Mr. Carroll's comments. Where is all the help and donated money? I own 2 rental properties in Findlay, both with basements that were flooded in August. I, as a 'Landlord', cannot get coverage for all the sewage backup in both basements and the brand new furnace isn't covered either because it is not my 'primary' residence. One renter lost almost all the contents of the basement and at first her Renter's Insurance said that she was covered and then they said 'Sorry, we made a mistake, you aren't covered' FEMA said she didn't have enough of a loss. What really determines a loss? AND who determines how much? A loss is a loss, just ask all those people in Findlay who are losing again!

This time around my losses are minimal, but what will it take for the city to wake up and do something about this? Not to mention the multi-million dollar complex the city wants to build on the river! Genius!

— Devra Hall, Toledo, OH


100 Year Flood?

The flood that ravished the area last August was called the 100 year flood. Six months later and the City of Findlay is once again under water.
There are hundreds of victims. Families displaced and torn apart from the August flood. My sister was one of them. She lost her home in August and has been renting a small one bedroom home in North Baltimore. Findlay City Officials are not doing a damn thing about it. Between FEMA, the City of Findlay, and insurance companies who never lose,there's a real story and obligation on your part to report what is (or what is not) happening.

Put some pressure on those elected officials. Ask them where all the donated money is being spent. My sister's family is one of the top 50 displaced, yet has not seen a dime from any agency you'd think would be responsible for help them out. Ask the City of Findlay officials why they are buying only the properites that will benefit them. It often takes the media to move public officials and its a great story!

Please contact me if you need my sister's contact information. Her house on Eastview Blvd. was destroyed in August, and it's still sitting vacant, down to the studs and probably molding.

Thank you.

— Michael Carroll, Columbus, OH

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