By Frank Lewis
A three-day storm event has left over 100 trees uprooted, streets and roads flooded and people camping or parking their boats on the Ohio River scrambling for higher ground.
“Three storms in a row on a moist soil has caused some significant damage to trees in the area in the last couple of days with the three systems that moved through,” Scioto County Emergency Management Agency director Kim Carver said. “Well over 100 trees have been downed on highways and crews had to spend most of the daylight hours again last (Tuesday) night removing trees.”
Carver said the power companies brought in extra crews as well to deal with downed power lines caused by the downed trees. In her last conversation with AEP Ohio officials Wednesday morning, a little over 1,000 people were without power and they told her it will be Thursday or Friday before full power is restored to those areas suffering power outages.
“They’ll get larger groups of people back on and then they’ll start working on the more isolated areas with the fewest number of customers,” Carver said. “Crews worked in the overnight hours (Tuesday night into Wednesday morning) to include Columbus Southern and American Electric Power and the rural co-ops. They have been working to try to get service restored.”
Carver said it was not as great an issue as it would have been if it had occurred in the winter because with warmer temperatures people without power can open their windows and get cooler air from outside.
At the height of Tuesday afternoons storms there was heavy flooding until the storm sewers could catch up and allow the drainage. One of the places where flooding was its worst was New Boston where the water was up to the actual body of the car as cars moved slowly along the one open lane eastbound on Rhodes Avenue. Some side streets were completely inundated made worse because the rains hit during the evening rush hours.
One Scioto County Sheriff’s Deputy was investigating an incident when a tree fell on the back end of his cruiser taking out the rear window and the antenna.
“We had some urban flash flooding that occurred until the storm sewers could catch up when you had such a significant rainfall,” Carver said.
Carver said it was a sort of phenomenon when you consider the way the storm arrived on Monday night.
“That system kind of split off and heavier bands of precipitation tracked over Jackson County and over Adams County and there was kind of a dry spot in the Scioto County middle area,” Carver said. “So while Jackson and Adams counties got really significant rainfall events overnight the night before (Monday), we did not, so that did not add to the issues. The initial gulley-washer we had was not on top of the one we had the night before so that was kind of a blessing that we had a little break.”
Frank Howard, caretaker and member at the Shawnee Boat Club in Portsmouth said they pulled everything out of the water Tuesday.
“Our boat docks stay in, we just pull them into the trees,” Howard said. “Everything off the hill we moved on up on the upper hill.”
Howard said Wednesday morning the river was at just over 39 feet and he had been out on the docks pulling logs from the river.
Scioto County Engineer Craig Opperman said Tuesday’s event was not as bad for his crew as Monday’s storm had been.
“The one that actually hit us on Monday was actually the one that got us the most,” Opperman said. “We had close to 40 to 50 trees down on Monday, but yesterday (Tuesday) wasn’t near as bad. We only had maybe 5-10 trees to deal with.”
Opperman said the county crews had to deal with localized short-term flash-flooding Tuesday, but he did not consider it as serious as it could have been.
“We’ve been out cleaning up this week, trying to get trees cleaned up, trying to cut them off the roads,” Opperman said. “We’re in pretty decent shape.”
Opperman said the area received 1.5 inches of rain on Tuesday. Added to the 1.12 inches Monday, the total was 2.62 inches of rain.
“Weather forecasters are looking to have some more seasonal type weather for our area for the remainder of July,” Carver said.
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.