Communities Prep for Possible Flooding

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.
Data pix.

The warm-up thawed some of the ice and snow, but it could create problems for many.

The potential for flooding has several communities watching and waiting -- the National Weather Service has issued flood warnings and watches for several areas in Northeast Ohio.

**For more on those alerts, click here**

Those areas include Willoughby near the Chagrin River.

"At 11 a.m. Thursday morning, the river was at 4.41. feet. So, we are still way below flood stage," said Willoughby Fire Chief Alan Zwegat.

But the Chagrin River is starting to thaw, and with the continuous rain, Willoughby fire officials are worried the water will rise and create a problem.

See the river level forecasts here.

"They say it takes approximately two feet of a water level rise to start fracturing the ice. That's when you start seeing the big ice chunks like the ones you have down here on the water right now. Then, that causes ice jams," said Zwegat.

"And if south of us, you have a jam and with the thaw, it suddenly breaks free, you could go from four feet to 10 feet in a hurry," said Captain Scott Mlakar, with the Willoughby Fire Department.

Thursday afternoon, low-lying areas like the Chagrin River Park and Daniels Park were still open.

"Down here, at approximately 11 feet is when we have a problem. The water will leave its banks. At about 12 and a half feet, we have streets and roads in the city flood that are prone to flooding," added  Zwegat.

Zwegat is worried about pinch points along the Chagrin River where ice has jammed from a previous thaw in January.

The Willoughby Fire Department has added extra staff through the weekend. They will have spotters monitoring the river and a reverse 911 system in place in case of an emergency.

In Eastlake, the sudden shift in temperatures from below freezing to close to 50 Thursday did little to raise the water level along the Chagrin River.

Mayor Dennis Morley said the area would need to see two to three inches of rain before seeing any problems.

In Valley View, the Cuyahoga River is just under four feet high. Flood stage is 16 feet, and the National Weather Service is forecasting the river to rise as high as two feet above flood stage.

According to the National Weather Service the Cuyahoga River in Independence in expected to hit 18 feet at 1 a.m. Friday morning, so it may be a restless night for residents living nearby.

Due to anticipated flooding, the National Park Service has closed the Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail in Cuyahoga Valley National Park until further notice. Multiple sections of the trail are expected to be affected by flooding.

Keep an eye on the forecast here.

READ MORE: Call For Action — How to Protect Your Home from Flooding

Data pix.

Around the Buckeye State

More Ohio News
FOX 8 Cleveland Weather // Quick Links:

Hot on FOX 8

More Viral