Lake County residents preparing if Chagrin River floods

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EASTLAKE, Ohio - Lake County residents are nervously watching and waiting to see what’s next for the Chagrin River.

The massive ice jams which caused flooding Wednesday night in Willoughby Hills have now moved down river to Eastlake.

By Thursday night, the riverbanks were flooded and enormous 16” thick slabs of ice were jutting out of the water as far as the eye could see.

Lake County residents who have lived through some devastating floods in the past say it’s anyone’s guess what will happen this time

“We don’t know,” said Ron Sekston, “We don’t know what’s gonna happen. It goes up and it comes down.”

The ice and water literally has no place to go, because the inlets at Lake Erie are still frozen.

But help is on the way.

The U.S. Coast Guard says, the cutter Neah Bay along with a Canadian cutter Samuel Risely are headed this way  from Lake Michigan and will begin fracturing the ice Friday into Saturday.

The plan is to start with the Huron River, then Vermillion and Rocky River.

As of Thursday they didn’t plan on continuing east to the Chagrin River. However they said that could change depending on conditions.

The cutters are effective at breaking up the Lake Erie ice but unfortunately are too large to enter the shallow waters near the river mouths, but the hope is that enough fracturing will allow the jams to keep moving.

First responders in multiple communities remain on high alert and have warned residents to be prepared to evacuate as well.

“If you live in an area where you know you flood or there’s concern that you flood you need to have your go bag ready to go,” said Asst. Fire Chief Tom Talcott in Willoughby Hills,” You need to have valuable papers your medications anything you need on a daily basis that’s valuable to you have that ready to go.”

There were also flood concerns in Rocky River yesterday due to the warming weather. Crews are also monitoring those.

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