Flash floods cause damage


First Posted: 5/29/2014

LIMA — Weather wreaked havoc Wednesday afternoon as heavy rains and flash floods deluged parts of the area.

Some areas received as much as 4 inches of rain in a very short time Wednesday. Allen County was under a flash flood warning, as were most of Putnam and Van Wert counties. Auglaize County also issued a flood watch.

Columbus Grove Mayor Ken Wright reported that there was very little rainful during the storm, but the village did suffer flooding problems as heavy rains washed north of the area.

Village workers were out at 5 a.m. Thursday putting up road closed signs and knocking on doors of residents to warn them of potential flooding. Wright said no homes had to be evacuated.

Wright said eight to 10 households suffered serious flooding problems.

The Indian Trail Garden Center, which has had flooding problems in the past, looked to be under about a foot and a half of water and appeared to be the only business majorly affected.

The Cairo branch of the Lima Public Library was underwater in the storm. The building had about 6 inches of water in it, and it is closed until further notice.

Lima Public Library Head of Public Relations Karen Sommer said many books were ruined in the flood.

“We spent the better part of the day (Thursday) removing books from the inventory,” Sommer said. “We have representatives from the insurance company coming tomorrow. Everything has been emptied out of the library.”

Narciso Bejarno, of Fort Jennings, took a photo of what appeared to be a possible tornado during the storm. He captured the image just north of Rimer between Road R and Road Q on the east side of Road 19. Auglaize County EMA Director Tory Anderson reviewed the photo, however, and said it appeared to be a gustnado.

A gust front tornado, or gustnado, is a specific type of short-lived, low-level rotating cloud that can form in a severe thunderstorm.

“Judging by the picture, it was likely a gustnado,” Anderson said. “They are usually in the front of a cold front. They go from the ground up, whereas a tornado comes down from the clouds. They tend to go a couple of hundred of feet up and don’t touch the clouds.”

They aren’t to be taken lightly, however. Anderson said gustnadoes can reach strengths similar to those of F0 or F1 tornadoes. The average gustnado lasts a few seconds to a few minutes. Winds can reach up to 112 mph.

Law enforcement agencies reported most roads that had to be closed Wednesday due to flooding were open by Thursday morning.