Prepared by Randa Wagner
February 19, 2014
UPDATE - Feb. 20: … A flood watch in effect from 3 pm est this afternoon through Friday morning… from 3 pm est this afternoon through Friday morning, a combination of melting snow and rain will produce a threat of flooding from Thursday afternoon into Friday. Ice jams on area rivers may also produce flooding. New rainfall of a half to one inch is expected. Localized amounts up to two inches are possible from thunderstorms.
A wind advisory is in effect from 10 pm this evening to 7 pm est Friday… Winds will be southeast to south - winds will become southwest late this evening and increase to 20 to 35 mph with gusts in excess of 45 mph. Wind gusts in excess of 45 mph are then expected into Friday evening.
Feb. 19, 2014 - Melting snow and rainfall could possibly cause runoff into streams and creeks late Thursday into the weekend. The National Weather Service in Cleveland said Wednesday morning the potential for flooding is highly dependent on how much rainfall occurs and how fast the snow melts.
The forecast calls for rain Thursday night and possibly a thunderstorm. Chance of precipitation is 100% and new rainfall amounts between a half and three quarters of an inch are possible.
In addition, thunderstorms with damaging winds will be possible Thursday night as a strong cold front crosses the area. The potential exists for flooding from run off and ice jamming if significant rainfall amounts occur along with rapid snow melt.
Morrow County Emergency Management Director Joseph A. Edwards issued a press release Tuesday, saying state officials are encouraging residents to begin focusing on the increased potential of flood risk, particularly with warmer temperatures and increased chances for precipitation.
Edwards stated only a small amount of rain in combination with significant snow accumulation can cause flooding in some areas.
“Flooding is a top hazard for Ohio,” said Steve Ferryman, Ohio Emergency Management Agency’s Mitigation and Recovery branch chief. “Residents should be mindful of changing weather conditions and take precautions again flood damage.”
A midwinter or early spring thaw can produce large amounts of runoff in a short period of time. Because the ground is hard and frozen, water cannot penetrate and be reabsorbed. The water then runs off the surface and flows into lakes, streams and rivers, causing excess water to spill over their banks.
“Ohio’s prolonged periods of subfreezing temperatures have caused the creation of many ice jams throughout the state,” said Christopher Thoms, Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Floodplain Management program manager “Minor flooding has already occurred in some areas, particularly in northern Ohio.”
Ice flows and ice jams are annual occurrences throughout most of Ohio. Although infrastructure and other developments have been designed to accommodate winter flooding, Ohioans should still take steps to reduce the risk to lives and property.
Flood risks vary with location and the weather, but anyone who lives or owns property near a water source should
• Monitor ice conditions and water levels
• Secure any structures and materials located in high-risk areas
• Create a plan to leave high-risk areas in case of emergency
• Avoid ice jams; do not walk or drive on or below the affected areas
Flooding has damaging effects on homeowners. Residents should be mindful that flood insurance is not included homeowners insurance. It is recommended that all Ohio residents visit FloodSmart.gov or call 1-800-427-2419 t learn how to prepare for floods, how to purchase a flood insurance policy and the benefits of protecting your ho or property investment against flooding. You can also contact your insurance agent for more information.