Lake County residents concerned after flash flooding damages belongings, homes

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WILLOWICK, Ohio – Homeowners in Willowick were drying out their belongings and throwing unsalvageable items to the curb after flash flooding from a heavy downpour sent as much as three feet of water into some basements.

FOX 8 Meterologist A.J. Colby says the early morning storm brought most of the 1.8 inches of rain to the area from 9:45 a.m. through Wednesday evening.

Kelly Ipavec came home from work to find ankle deep water in her basement.

“The only other time it did was that big huge 100 year flood that we had, I don’t remember whether it was 2006, when the whole county flooded. That was the only other time I have had water here,” she told FOX 8 News.

Her neighbor, Chris Peterson, has to replace all of the brand new carpeting in his basement.

“I lost time at work and now me and my brother have to work ripping out brand new carpeting in the basement so that’s going to take us hours to do tonight. It’s costing time and energy and stress,” he said.

Some residents said they feared the water would be coming into their homes when they heard a familiar gurgling sound through their basement drains and bathroom fixtures.

Jeff Blackburn says he was alerted to the flooding in his home by a call from his children. Adding that during the call, he could hear the water streaming into his basement.

“It was probably about 25 after eleven. The kids called. They were in a panic. It was just coming in. It was coming up from the seal of the toilet and the drain in the shower stall and you could hear it coming up on the phone with them,” said Blackburn.

Many of the residents were questioning whether the city had diverted the water in its storm drain system sending it into their neighborhoods.

“They need to do something because its ridiculous. People are losing everything. There’s a lot of talk on Facebook and everything, people are just getting ready to walk away. They are losing everything,” said Blackburn.

FOX 8 News was able to catch up with Willowick Mayor Richard Regovich at his home.

The mayor assures us that the community has no way to determine where the water will flow as it works its way to three points of entry into Lake Erie.

“It seemed to be a trough of weather coming right off the lake and it just seemed to park over Willowick and this part of Lake County. I know there’s been some flooding in Euclid too,” said Regovich.

The mayor explained that the water overwhelmed the aging sewer system in which storm and sanitary sewers still connect at various points.

“Some of our city sewers are from 1928 so how are they adequate today?…But the cost to redo, to put new is far more than, exceeds what the city can pay for,” said the mayor.

The city was sending out crews from its service department to assess where the flooding happened.

“In an event like today we will track and see what houses flooded what part of the city flooded and go back and investigate if there is anything unique going on in that area that’s not normal,” said Regovich.

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