Area dries out after heavy rains, floodingWritten by Justin R. Kalmes | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Rain is in the forecast, but Toledoans can breathe a sigh of relief, as meteorologists call for weather much less severe in coming days than the area experienced June 21.
Norm Van Ness, meteorologist for WNWO, said though forecasts call for a chance of rain for most of the week, any storms or rainfall should be scattered and weaker than weather that pounded much of Northwest Ohio June 21 and 22. (See 5-day forecast on page A20).
“Even if we get a thunderstorm with a couple of inches of rain, we’re not looking at a big giant flood like we had last time,” Van Ness said. “It doesn’t look like we’re going to have the deep tropical moisture feed like we had last week.”
Ohio Gov. Bob Taft issued an emergency declaration June 26 for Lucas County due to the storms and flooding June 21 and 22. The county is now eligible for state assistance. Cuyahoga, Erie, Huron and Stark counties also received emergency declarations from Taft.
Disaster assistance, up to $1,500, is available through the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services for residents who qualify. Up to $750 in disaster assistance is also available for certain elderly and disabled individuals.
According to a press release, $1,500 in Temporary Assistance for Needy Families is available to families that include a child or pregnant woman and have evidence of economic need. To be eligible for $750 in disaster assistance, those who do not qualify for TANF assistance must be 55 or older and childless, or receiving certain disability benefits, the release said. These individuals must provide evidence they were impacted by the severe weather and have an economic need to the county department of Job and Family Services, the release said.
The National Weather Service reported storms last week dumped 3.23 inches of precipitation at the Toledo Express Airport. Van Ness, however, said Doppler radar showed up to 6 inches or more of rain in certain spots in the metro-Toledo area. Tornadoes were reported in southeast Michigan, and 56 mph wind gusts and golf ball-size hail pelted northern Ohio, the weather service said.
FirstEnergy reported 193,432 lightning strikes in NW Ohio from 4 p.m. June 21 to 6 a.m. June 22.
“It hit us fast,’’ said Stan Cohara of Valley View, a Cleveland suburb. “It was like someone opened a big faucet.”
The storm June 21 spawned at least two tornadoes in Michigan, one near Manitou Beach and another near Lambertville, just north of the Ohio line. No injuries or major damage were reported, officials said, but about 40,000 people lost power.
Neighborhoods in Toledo’s west and southwest sections were still recovering due to floods that resulted from overflowing creeks and streams, said Mayor Carty Finkbeiner at a June 26 press conference. He said 100 volunteers, many of whom were city employees, worked June 24 to help clear refuse left behind from subsiding floodwaters.
Finkbeiner said volunteers loaded 115 tons of debris onto three city refuse trucks. That effort, combined with those of city street sweepers, accounted for 270 tons of debris.
The city will continue to help in cleanup efforts and assess damages through July 5, Finkbeiner said. Flood damage was significant enough, he said, to qualify Toledo for federal emergency assistance. At least 25 homes not covered by flood insurance with 40 percent structural damage must be reported to make the city eligible. Finkbeiner urged homeowners to first seek assistance from their insurance companies before turning to government sources for relief.
“Do not let those companies tell you that they can’t be of assistance to you,” he said, adding anyone with problems should contact the city’s law department.
City officials have a good assessment of flood damages, Finkbeiner said, but have no idea how much they will cost. He said a complete determination of how many homes met federal assistance requirements would likely be ready by June 29.
To combat future problems in neighborhoods affected by the June 21 storm, Finkbeiner said the city would examine an area near Crawford and Poinsetta avenues that flooded when Shantee Creek overflowed. He said the area suffered from significant floods twice in six years.
“Once I can understand,” Finkbeiner said. “Twice is once too many.”
Columbia Gas of Ohio spokesman Chris Kozak said 117 customers experienced interruption to their service due to the flooding and storms. He said service technicians worked June 24 and 25 to restore service.
Kozak said anyone still needing service restored should call 1 (800) 460-4332 to schedule the next available time for an appointment. He said before workers come out, water should be removed from basements and appliances should be dried and cleared of debris. He said technicians must have clear and safe access to all appliances before restoring service.
About 20,000 Toledo Edison customers lost power at the height of the June 21 storm, said Area Manager Meg Adams. She said crews worked around the clock to restore service. Workers from Pennsylvania assisted in the effort and all power was turned back on by June 24, she said.
Though rain caused water to spill over the banks of a 10-mile creek that cuts through Sylvania’s Highland Meadows Golf Club, the course is again in excellent condition and the LPGA’s Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic will go on as planned July 10-16, said tournament director Judd Silverman.
He said though parts of holes 2, 8, 10 and 18 were under water after the storms, no greens were damaged and the water has subsided within the creek’s banks.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.