LIMA — Some residents of the region awoke Friday to otherwise lazy creeks rising all the way to their doorsteps. A portion of Interstate 75 was shut down as well between Bluffton and Beaverdam before reopening shortly before noon.
More than 2 inches of rain fell overnight Thursday and into Friday morning.
The National Weather Service issued a flood warning in effect along Auglaize River until 11 a.m. Saturday. There was also a flood warning for the remainder of the area until shortly after midnight Saturday.
A handful of residents of Columbus Grove were evacuated by the rising floodwaters.
A breach in an aqueduct along the Miami-Erie Canal north of St. Marys threatened to add even more water woes for officials there.
Schools were closed in several locations throughout the region due to the number of roads made impassable by flooding.
The Lima Fire Department helped more than 40 people evacuate from an apartment complex overnight, with some transported to the Allen County Regional Transit Authority’s offices until other arrangements could be made.
Volunteers showed up in Montezuma to fill sandbags to help fight the flooding in Mercer County on Friday morning.
In other words, it was really wet out there.
Columbus Grove evacuations
High flood waters in Columbus Grove on Friday morning caused six residents to be evacuated from their homes.
The Columbus Grove Fire Department was dispatched by Putnam County Dispatch Center to West Street in reference to flooding at 6:58 a.m. Friday, according to Columbus Grove Police Chief Sean Hiler.
The homes that were evacuated were near Plum Creek at a duplex at 109 and 109 1/2 West St. and at 106 West St.
“In the duplex there was a woman with two children — one child had a developmental disability — and a man who lived in the back half of the duplex with a wheelchair who were evacuated,” Hiler said. There was an elderly woman and another man who were evacuated from the home at 106 West St.
It is not the first time the homes had to be evacuated due to flooding, including a similar evacuation three years ago, he said.
Columbus Grove firefighters, including captain and village administrator Jeff Vance, used the village’s front-end loader that had a bucket to help rescue the residents.
“We drove up to their front doors with the loader and the firemen stepped out of the bucket onto the porches and helped the residents get in the bucket,” Vance said.
Those evacuated went to stay with family members.
Aqueduct breach adds to woes
State engineers were summoned to northern Auglaize County on Friday afternoon after an aqueduct along state Route 66 ruptured and threatened to add to severe flooding there.
Sheriff Al Solomon said the aqueduct along the Miami & Erie Canal had partially broken apart, and engineers were trying to dam portions of the canal near the aqueduct “to relieve the pressure.” He said the situation had the potential to substantially add to number of flooded roadways scattered throughout the county.
Ohio Department of Transportation officials said state Route 66 was closed Friday afternoon between U.S. 33 and state Route 197 near St. Marys due to high water concerns. Solomon said more than 20 Auglaize County roads had been closed by high water as of Friday morning. The National Weather Service extended the flood warning for Auglaize County until 8:45 a.m. today.
“I ask that people heed the ‘Road Closed’ signs that are out,” Solomon said. “If they haven’t before, they really need to now.”
A spokesman for the Allen County Engineer’s Office reported at mid-afternoon Friday that the following roads were closed due to high water:
• Pevee Road, between state Route 81 and Sandusky Road.
• Bentley Road, between state Route 81 and Sandusky Road.
• Piquad Road, between state Route 309 and Wapak Road.
• Dutch Hollow Road, between State and Gomer roads, State and Elida roads and East Road and state Route 81.
• Ridge Road, between Gomer to Wapak roads.
Around the region
Interstate 75 northbound, between Beaverdam and Bluffton, was closed for nearly three hours before reopening shortly before 11 a.m. Interstate 75 southbound was one lane between Beaverdam and Bluffton for the same period of time. Some roads in Bluffton were closed Friday due to high water, but all had reopened by mid-afternoon.
Flooding closed several area school districts for the day Friday, including Columbus Grove, Pandora-Gilboa, Shawnee and St. Marys districts.
The Auglaize River in Fort Jennings was forecast to crest at 15.4 feet around 2 p.m. Saturday, according to the National Weather Service’s Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service. Some evacuations could become necessary at 16 feet, with secondary roads and agricultural lands and homes nearest the river affected.
In Kalida, the Ottawa River looks like it will fall just short of its moderate flood stage of 20 feet. The river is expected to at 19 feet around 2 a.m. Saturday. At that level, water begins to cover state Route 115 near the south village limits.
The Blanchard River in Ottawa is expected to crest at 2 a.m. Sunday at 24.4 feet, above the minor flood stage of 23 feet. At 24.4 feet, it would be the highest the river has been since flooding in December 2015, causing lowland flooding mostly in south Ottawa.