limaohio.com

Area rivers could reach flood stage by Sunday, Monday

HEATHER RUTZ hrutz@limanews.com

December 20, 2013

LIMA — Good thing those reindeer come two by two; Santa may yet need to trade his sleigh for an ark.


The region and most of Ohio is under a National Weather Service flood watch through Sunday, which means potential for flooding based on current forecasts.


Among the hydrological forecasts for the region:


• The Blanchard River in Ottawa was six feet high Friday afternoon, but forecasted to reach 23 feet, flood stage, by Sunday afternoon, and crest at nearly 25 feet Monday.


• The Blanchard River in Findlay was 1.4 feet high Friday afternoon, but forecasted to reach 11 feet, flood stage, by Sunday afternoon, and crest at 13.6 feet, qualifying as a major flood, by Monday afternoon.


• The Auglaize River at Fort Jennings was two feet high Friday afternoon, but forecasted to reach 13 feet, flood stage, by Sunday afternoon, and crest at nearly 15 feet Monday.


• The St. Marys River at Rockford was 2.43 feet high Friday afternoon, but forecasted to crest at 13 feet, flood stage, by Monday afternoon.


Rain is expected Saturday into Sunday, with heavy rainfall at times, especially Saturday night into Sunday morning, the National Weather Service said. While river levels are low now, the combination of the melting snow and the possibility of one to three inches of rain could lead to flooding of streams, creeks and low-lying areas.


Temperatures will remain above normal through the weekend, with a high of 45 degrees today and high of 48 degrees Sunday, and then drop.


Here is the National Weather Service forecast through Wednesday, Christmas Day:


Sunday: 60 percent chance of rain or snow, high of 48 degrees.


Monday: Partly sunny, high of 29 degrees.


Tuesday: Mostly sunny, high of 25 degrees.


Wednesday: Partly sunny, high near 35 degrees, with a 30 percent chance of snow Wednesday night.


A stew of foul weather, ranging from freezing rain and snow in the Midwest to thunderstorms and possible tornadoes in the South, is arriving just in time for one of the busiest travel weekends of the year.


Much of the nation is bracing for something: Freezing rain, then 6 inches of snow, is possible in the northern Plains; torrential rains are expected in the Appalachian region; weekend thunderstorms in the South could spawn twisters.


AAA projects that nearly 95 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more during the holiday period, which runs from Saturday through Jan. 1.


The winter storm will mark an abrupt change for many. Temperatures were in the 60s in parts of the Midwest on Thursday. By Friday morning, freezing rain was closing schools and creating travel problems in Michigan and Wisconsin. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation said Interstate 90/94 was ice-covered from Tomah and Mauston. The state was bracing for significant snow, sleet and ice.


The National Weather Service issued a flood watch for eastern Missouri, including St. Louis, with up to 4 inches of rain projected. With falling temperatures, some of that could be freezing rain by Saturday night, weather service meteorologist Jon Carney said.


By Sunday night, the storm systems will be hammering the East Coast. AccuWeather said some New England and mid-Atlantic states could see rare winter thunderstorms.


The Associated Press contributed to this story.