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Floods strike southern Ohio, residents must ‘wait until it dries out’

Late Tuesday night, severe thunderstorms bombarded southern Ohio with heavy rain, causing flash floods that damaged businesses and homes and left several people stranded for hours.

“There was someone trapped on a rural road (Wednesday) morning. They were sitting on top of their car for a couple hours. They didn’t get swept away; they eventually got rescued,” said Jon Wagner, who graduated from Ohio State in 2007 with a journalism degree.

Wagner saw the people on top of their car on the way to his brother’s house, who lives down the street from him in South Vienna, Ohio.

Wagner said when he woke up Wednesday morning, he discovered that his basement was filled with water.

“Luckily, not too many personal things were damaged but my desktop computer is fried,” Wagner said. “I can’t get it to turn on.”

No deaths or injuries have been reported, but there has been an abundance of property damage and displaced families.

“My brother’s house is completely flooded. It’s a mess,” Wagner said.

Burleson Grimes, who graduated from OSU in 1971 with a bachelor’s degree in political science, said the rainfall also affected farms, pushing the planting of new crops back a few weeks.

“In a matter of three hours, we had 3.5 inches of rain,” Grimes said. “We were just getting to the point where we we’re starting to work in the fields and the rain totally submerged all the fields. It puts us a month and half behind.”  

Grimes said water completely surrounded his farm in Champaign County and in one area there were almost four feet of water.

“There was enough water to wash out the road bed, the railroad track,” Grimes said. “It was enough to move large chunks of concrete to the field.”

Grimes’ daughter, Mia Grimes, a fourth-year in agri-business and applied economics, said the railroad was still in use, so it needed to be fixed soon.

“On the road I live on, an RV got flooded really badly and the fire department had to get them out, because they couldn’t leave,” she said. “There were fish swimming around in our fields.”

In a press release, environmental and natural resources professor, William Mitsch said the bottomlands where farms reside shouldn’t be used for farming.

“That would be the best place for a national river park. The flooding should be allowed to take place there,” according to the press release.

Other counties affected were Jackson, Scioto, Hocking and Logan, according to Dayton’s Channel 7 news.

“There is a campground, two miles from here, and there’s water halfway up the campers,” Wagner said. “The Red Cross reservists were there this morning. The entire campground is like a lake.”

Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati broke the previous records for total rainfall in April. According to the National Weather Service, it rained 7.13 inches in Columbus in April. This broke the previous record of 7.08 inches set in April 1893.

“In one night, we got the equivalent of May’s total rainfall,” Grimes said. “We just have to wait until it dries out, nothing we can do.”

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