The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

February 22, 2014

Ashtabula County stayed high and relatively dry

Star Beacon

JEFFERSON — For once, Mother Nature took pity on Ashtabula County.

Flood waters predicted to plague the area today never materialized — so far, said Mike Fitchet, county Emergency Management Agency director.

“It looks like we dodged the bullet,” he said in a email message Friday afternoon. “We have no reports of road closings or flooding.”

The National Weather Service issued a flood warning for Friday morning, saying the combination of warmer temperatures, heavy snowpack and rain could pose problems. Standing water could be found on roads and highways, but nothing that caused major traffic headaches, officials said.

One big blessing was the rain forecasted — upwards of 1.5 inches — never materialized. “Rain totals were one third of the prediction, which is the biggest change,” Fitchet said.

There were some impacts in the region, however. A section of Route 20 in Girard, Pa., a few miles east of Conneaut, was closed several hours due to flooding. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation closed the road around 6 a.m. and it reopened at 3 p.m., a spokesman said.

The county will remain vigilant, checking waterways for any ice-related concerns, Fitchet said.

“We will keep an eye on rivers and streams for another 12 hours until the runoff and snow melt catches up,” he said. “But it looks like we’re OK.”

Melting will be the least of the area’s problems over the next several days, according to the NWS. High temperatures today will reach the lows 40s, then steadily plummet Sunday and through most of next week. Thursday’s high may not reach 20 degrees, forecasters said.