Six water rescues — four for houses and two for cars — had been made by early afternoon Tuesday, due to flooding overnight in Franklin County.
Thomas Winter, Franklin County Emergency Management coordinator, said the county saw anywhere between 8.2 inches of rain last night in the north to 6.3 inches in Ottawa. Most of the flooding occurred in the northern end of the county, including Wellsville. Flooding also was occurring in the Pomona area west of Ottawa.
“We have had so much rain — 8 inches of rain — a lot of our areas weren’t able to sink that in, so it caused that surface flooding,” Winter said. “Some of the roads have subsided...but now the water is rising in parts where we usually see flooding.”
He urged drivers to steer clear of water running across the road, even if it’s just an inch.
“There’s really no excuse for cars because you can see the water, and you actively decide that you’re going to try to make it,” Winter said. “Always, my thing is: turn around, don’t drown. If you see water going across the road where you don’t normally see water going around the road, don’t try it.”
Flooding in low-lying areas across the county prompted West Franklin and Wellsville school districts to cancel classes Tuesday.
Although there is no precipitation in the forecast for tonight or tomorrow, the Marais des Cynges River is expected to reach its flood stage tonight, Michael Haeffele, public works director for the City of Ottawa, said. According to the National Weather Service, 31 feet is the flood stage for the river. At 1 a.m., it is expected to crest at about 34 feet.
"Our Emergency Operations Plan (EOP) calls for us to close the gates at 32 feet," Haeffele said. "I do not expect the river to hit 32 feet until sometime later tonight. The river is currently at 28 feet, so it will take a while for it to reach 32 feet, or even 34 feet, if it gets that deep."