Last updated: August 25. 2013 1:50AM - 60 Views

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LIMA — As the floodwaters slowly receded Wednesday, attention began shifting to the weekend, when another rain-soaked storm system could again send the rivers rising.It’s too early to say exactly what areas will be hit the hardest, but forecasters said the current models show Northwestern Ohio in line for significant rainfall.“We’re pretty concerned watching this next storm system that looks very much like the one that just moved through here,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Sam Lashley. “It could easily bring another inch and if thunderstorms develop that could go up to as much as 2 inches in some areas.”Rain will likely start Friday and could continue through Saturday evening. With ground still saturated and river levels still high, that could be bad news for flood-weary cities across the area. They’re taking note.“We remain vigilant in monitoring the weather systems and our crews are staying on alert. We will start the process of cleaning the roads up once the water recedes, but we are not putting the equipment away, nor are we putting away the premade sandbags we have,” said Jeff Loehrke, Ottawa’s Community Development Director. The village keeps between 5,000 and 10,000 sandbags at the ready.The Blanchard River crested at 28.46 feet there Wednesday morning, well above the flood stage of 23 feet. Loehrke said the level was the seventh-highest in Ottawa’s history.About 50 homes were surrounded by water on the village’s west side, though Loehrke didn’t know how many were flooded on the first floor. Downtown, basements were flooded, but Loehrke said he didn’t know of any businesses that had water on the first floor.State Route 65 and U.S. Route 224 remained closed, and police were ticketing vehicles that attempt to navigate the flooded roadways.“We just don’t need sightseers and people creating wakes that could cause more flooding in someone’s property,” Loehrke said.Elsewhere, much of the floodwaters had already started receding. The Blanchard River at Findlay peaked at 16.42 feet at about 7:30 a.m. Tuesday, though there was still substantial flooding there. In Auglaize County, St. Marys residents were able to get back into their flooded homes Tuesday.Allen County Engineer Tim Piper said just four sections of road were still closed Wednesday in Allen County. All were in the western portion of the county near the Auglaize River. On Tuesday, 18 roads were closed across the county.County crews were busy Wednesday checking bridges and rebuilding berms on roads that were covered with floodwaters yesterday. Piper said 700 tons of stone had been used to replace what was washed away from berms by the floodwaters.In Fort Wayne, Ind., Roxanne Romack, 19, of Fort Recovery, was listed in fair condition Wednesday evening at Parkview Hospital. She suffered severe injuries when her car was swept away in floodwaters.Lashley said the winter’s heavy snow and now rain are to blame on the La Nińa weather pattern. He said it’s too early to say what the flooding effect might be of more rain.“The river rises may be similar, and because the rivers are starting at higher level you may actually get higher rises if we do get that maximum rainfall,” he said.There’s even a chance for accumulating snow late Saturday and into Sunday as temperatures drop.You can comment on this story at www.limaohio.com.

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