Once in a lifetime: Strong winds send water from Lake Erie pouring into Eastlake neighborhoods

EASTLAKE, Ohio -- Many people woke up to several inches of snow Friday morning, but some people spent the day mopping after water flooded their yards. Strong winds sent water from Lake Erie pouring into some neighborhoods.

Eastlake fire chief Ted Whittington called it a once in a generation event. He says the winds were so strong from the north that they even caused part of the Chagrin River to flow backwards.

"It's a once in a lifetime. This has never happened like this before; I mean, Lake Erie is pretty upset," said Michelle Grinstead, whose mother-in-law was affected by the flooding.

Giant waves crashed into the Lake Erie shoreline along Galalina Boulevard in Eastlake. Early Friday morning, they were so high that they flowed over a barrier and into the lakeside neighborhood.

"It was like a river in my backyard," said resident, Pamela Grinstead.

Grinstead said around 2:30 a.m. Friday, she noticed the water rising around her home and it kept getting higher. She eventually called her daughter-in-law who took pictures of what the scene looked like when she arrived.

"The water was over my ankles, that deep. Complete front yard was flooded; backyard was flooded. The street all the way down to two houses down was flooded; it was mess," said her daughter-in-law.

"You'll get some of that flow off the lake like that, but you don't normally get that flooding," said Pamela Grinstead.

"I've lived here in this area for over 50 years, 55 years, and this is the first time I saw the lake come over the banks to go into our streets," said Eastlake mayor Dennis Morley.

Morley says public works crews spent all day pumping the water out of the streets and back into Lake Erie.

"We're working on a plan for the sewer system that we just handed in. We're working with the county to get some bigger pumps and things down here, hopefully by the end of summer," said the mayor.

"I gotta give our city a lot of credit. They were on the ball; they were down here; they were pumping this stuff out," said Pamela Grinstead.

Pamela says an inch or two of water seeped into her garage, but otherwise, she escaped heavy damage.

"It was kind of a freaky thing that happened, you know what I mean? My dogs loved it because my whole backyard was flooded and my dogs were out there swimming in the stuff," she said.

**More on the April snow**