Roads Flooded, Power Out in Parts of Ohio, Indiana

March 1, 2011

Storms with heavy rain, high winds and hail knocked out power, and flooded homes and roads in Ohio and Indiana, and three homes in Kentucky were destroyed in what state police called an apparent tornado.

Sandbags were being distributed in Findley, a city about 45 miles south of Toledo, and officials made individual warning calls to downtown businesses because of the threat of yet another in a series of major floods along the Blanchard River.

Crews using boats took 20 people from a mobile home park in western Ohio’s Mercer County as rising floodwaters closed in, said Mike Robbins, the county’s emergency management director. In neighboring Auglaize County, an official told the National Weather Service that a flash flood early on Feb. 28 trapped residents of a mobile home park. Emergency director Troy Anderson did not immediately respond to messages seeking further details. There were no reports of injuries.

The weather service said flooding was a threat in all 88 of Ohio’s counties. Wind gusts of 60 mph or more were recorded in several locations, followed by scattered reports of homes with roof damage, uprooted trees and downed power lines. Utilities reported that as many as 31,000 Ohio customers had no power late in the morning of Feb. 28.

Flooding in the Cleveland area canceled Monday’s classes at the North Olmsted and Cuyahoga Heights public schools, and roads in numerous counties were closed due to standing water. For a time Monday morning, northwest Ohio’s Hardin County advised against any travel because so many roads were under water.

In Findlay, north of Hardin County, the flood-prone Blanchard River had reached its official flood level Monday morning and was expected to rise 5.5 feet more to crest late Monday night, the weather service said. That would be within a range of floods seen in 2008 and 2009, though not a catastrophic August 2007 flood, the worst since 1913.

“We have 20,000 sandbags that are being filled. We’re using inmates to help get those filled,” said Jim Barker, the city safety director in Findlay. “There’s a pretty good line of traffic down there, people waiting to get some sandbags.”

Much of central Indiana was under a flood warning until Monday night.

In Hancock County just east of Indianapolis, police reported high winds blew the roof off of a home near the town of Ingalls, where a pole barn was also destroyed.

“It was just a wind that kept getting stronger and stronger, to the point that we heard debris,” Denise Arney, whose home was damaged, told WRTV in Indianapolis. “We knew we had to get downstairs.”

The National Weather Service said power lines just outside of Muncie were knocked down by the strong winds and areas northeast of Indianapolis sustained most of the wind damage. The agency sent out a team to Madison County and the surrounding communities to assess the wind-damaged areas and determine if a tornado touched down early Monday morning.

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