The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

March 1, 2011

Floods slam county roads

Thunderstorms cause runoff, swelling creeks, drainage sites

Rain and warmer weather combined Monday to cause another weather-related headache for area motorists.

Thunderstorms that arrived early Monday morning hastened the melt of the heavy snow that belted the region late last week. The resulting runoff swelled creeks and overwhelmed drainage systems and ditches across the Ashtabula County.

Intersections were submerged in cities, while high water closed sections of roads in three townships. Portions of North Bend Road in Saybrook, Windsor-Mechanicsville Road in Windsor and Stanhope-Kelloggsville Road in Monroe were off-limits to traffic on Monday, said Amir Garakouei, county highway superintendent. All three roads were expected to reopen Monday night, when water receded, he said.

The county’s Emergency Management Agency was alerted to high-water problems in parts of the county, but none reportedly put people at risk, said George Sabo, EMA director.

“(The flooding) occurred in the typical areas, including in the south county,” he said. “There were also reports of Geneva residents with flooded basements.”

Incidents were “widespread” and “isolated,” Sabo said.

Flooding could remain a problem today as the snowpack from Friday’s near-blizzard continues to melt, Sabo said. A flood watch for the area expired Monday night.

Heavy rain was ushered into the area early Monday via thunderstorms that lit up the sky with dazzling lightning. In Conneaut, lightning is believed responsible for a small fire at a Monroe Street house Monday morning. A lightning strike apparently affected the house’s electrical system, causing sparks that ignited natural gas, firefighters said.

A smoke alarm alerted an occupant, who doused the blaze before firefighters arrived. There was no damage, firefighters said.

On Monday morning, FirstEnergy’s Web site reported power outages, involving a few hundred customers, in Dorset, Jefferson, Kingsville, Orwell and Pierpont. By the afternoon, only Orwell still was reporting some outages, according to the Web site.

Flooding affected other parts of northeast Ohio. In Lake County, EMA director Larry Greene said about 100 people living near Painesville were ordered to leave their homes Monday morning because of flooding on the Chagrin and Lake rivers. Officials in western Ohio’s Mercer County say crews using boats took 20 people from a mobile home park as rising floodwaters closed in.

No injuries were reported.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this story.

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