Water, water everywhere

By Michael Ullery

December 21, 2013

Staff Reports

MIAMI COUNTY — Rainfall that began as a light drizzle on Friday, progressed to a steady downpour that necessitated high water signs around the county during the weekend.

By Saturday night into Sunday morning, the deluge saw the Great Miami River out of its banks, causing widespread flooding, with water rushing across roadways, flooding basements and homes around the area.

As motorists, some unaware of rising water, and some choosing to ignore high water and road closed signs, attempted to travel along rain-soaked highways, more and more became stranded by high water.

A young female driver became stranded on Patrizio Place in Piqua early Saturday morning when the car she was driving stalled in 18-inch-deep water.

A short time later, another driver on State Route 48 had his car washed off the road by high water, south of Covington. He was rescued by Miami County sheriff’s deputies and Covington Fire Department members.

According to Miami County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Todd Tennant, one woman was rescued from her vehicle near the historic Eldean bridge Saturday night. She was not injured. The woman’s car has not been recovered from the flood. Tennant said Bradford Fire Department’s water rescue unit assisted in the rescue after Troy Fire Department units were all out on flood related calls.

The Troy Fire Department responded to a home on Staunton Road (East State Route 55) in Troy to rescue a couple, and their pets, who were trapped in their home by flood waters.

While the Troy Fire Department was busy with a water rescue on State Route 41 and State Route 202, the Bradford Fire Department responded as mutual aide to Eldean and Farver Roads, near the Eldean Covered Bridge, to rescue a man who attempted to drive past road closed signs and became stranded in high water.

The gymnasium at Covington Middle School sustained damage to the floor when high water rose several inches into the building.

Tennant said the following roads around the county were closed Sunday due to high water: State Route 202/State Route 41; County-Road 25-A/Lytle Road; Piqua-Lockington; State Route 571/Tipp Elizabeth Road.

“It’s hard to get around anywhere,” Tennant said. “From the (Great Miami) river south and east it’s just flowing.”

Tennant said the department had received more than 70 calls related to the flooding including assisting motorists and road checks. Miami County Sheriff’s Department assisted more than 45 motorist due to stalled cars and four accidents due to the heavy rain and flooding throughout the weekend.

Tennant said motorists can and will be cited for driving around road closed signs. Tennant said the $110 fine is to remind motorists to remain safe and in the future stay away from swift moving waters.

The Great Miami River area around Troy will be under a flood watch through Tuesday, according to Andy Latto, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Wilmington.

Latto said areas south of Piqua received 3.06 inches of rain since Saturday. The Great Miami River levels crested at 9:45 a.m. Sunday morning at 16.58 feet.

“It will slowly start dropping,” Latto said. Latto said the river level will fall below flood levels by noon Tuesday.

As of Saturday afternoon, the Miami Conservancy District’s (MCD) was reporting that three of their five flood protection dams were storing flood water that could otherwise flood cities along the Great Miami River. Storage at the dams begins when the water rises above the conduits (concrete outlets) at the dams.

Storage at the dams as of 4 p.m. Saturday at Lockingon Dam was at 18.37 feet. Storage begins at 12 feet at Lockington.

The conservancy district was reporting 25.24 feet of storage at Germantown Dam, southwest of Datyon, and 17.77 feet, west of Dayton.

I-75 Group reporters Mike Ullery, Melanie Yingst and Susan Hartley contributed to this report.