Residents Prepare for Possible Flooding

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WILLOWICK, OH -- Many residents will be watching local rivers and keeping an eye on their basements this weekend as several inches of rain are predicted to fall in Northeast Ohio.

"It was a complete catastrophe -- complete destruction -- the water came up to here, so I'm not sure what that is, but that's at least level with my knee," recalls James Burnett.

Last July, the Burnetts’ basement on Oakdale Road in Willowick was flooded when severe summer storms moved through.  It destroyed furniture, cabinets and appliances.

"They literally used a front end loader and it took them eight loads with that and they were loading that down the street to use a dump truck that they were using, a service point to remove all the debris," he says.

The Burnetts still have not completed renovations of their basement, and with several inches of rain expected this weekend, they wonder if they'll have to start all over again.

"This was catastrophic for us, so as you can see, six months later we still don't have, we still haven't recovered yet, so you're keeping your fingers crossed? Oh yeah, yeah, you got me nervous, I'll be staring out the window all day now," Burnett told Fox 8.

Many neighbors on his street are afraid of what could happen this weekend.

"If I expect a big rain, I put stuff up off the floor, by the way and then most of the stuff in the basement is in tubs," said Willowick resident Bill Moore.

"When I'm staying at my parents' house, I'm in the basement because I'm their caretaker and I have to watch now because if it floods, we're gonna have a real problem. We had a big problem last time it flooded. The whole basement was like, four inches of water," said resident Gundi Rogers.

Authorities in nearby Eastlake are keeping a close eye on the Chagrin River.  On Friday, the river was flowing most of the time, but sometimes, ice jams occurred.

Crews spent the day clearing catch basins. The city's fire chief is optimistic that the rain and warm temperatures will cause the ice to break up and flow into Lake Erie, but he warns residents to be prepared.

"This time of year, we're worried about the ice jams and then obviously with the predicted rain tomorrow, we're worried about a volume issue, so we'll take it one step at at time. So, what we want to do is get this ice cleared up," said Eastlake Fire Chief Ted Whittington.

Chief Whittington says crews will monitor the Chagrin River all weekend. If they believe it is in danger of flooding, they will notify residents by a reverse 911 call.

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