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400-plus folks evacuated in Wooster as flooding continues in Wayne County – jj

400-plus folks evacuated in Wooster as flooding continues in Wayne County


WOOSTER — Several area roads have begun to reopen Monday morning after flash flooding struck large portions of southern Wayne County Sunday night.

Shortly after 2 a.m., the City of Wooster reported U.S. 30, which had been closed at Madison Avenue, had reopened. Madison Avenue itself also has been reopened, as has S. Bever Street and Old Lincoln Way. As of 8 a.m., Vine Street, S. Grant Street and Bauer Road have also reopened, though the city warned small debris still may be in the roadways.

As of 9 a.m., the Wayne County Engineer’s Office reports the following road closures: Prairie Lane (County Road 176) between Messner Road and Old Columbus Road in Wooster,  Valley Road (County Road 228) between State Route 226 and Moreland Road, McQuaid (County Road 416) between Church Road and Simpkins Road.

Crews also are working to clear Honeytown Road between U.S. Route 30A and U.S. 250, and south of 250, the Engineer’s Office reports. As of 9 a.m., several trees were down on power lines at the intersection of Hametown and Clinton roads.

The following roads remain closed in the city due to debris blocking the roads: Old Columbus Road between Prairie Lane and Vine Street, Spruce Street, Industrial Boulevard, Prairie Lane Freedlander Road, Maple Street, Grosjean Road and W. Henry Street. ODOT reopened both SR 83 and U.S. 250 overnight.

The National Weather Service also revised its flash flood warning to an areal flood warning as of 5:30 a.m. That warning is in effect until 11:15 a.m.

“While the thunderstorms which caused flash flooding have ended, law enforcement officials in Wayne County indicate flooding remains ongoing in several areas, especially in and around the town of Apple Creek,” the NWS wrote in its 5:30 a.m. update. “In addition there were still roads in the county that remain flooded. Heavy rain is not expected in the area today which should allow the flood waters to continue to recede.”

A 60 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms does remain throughout the day, the NWS forecasts, but that likelihood drops after 10 a.m. New rainfall between a quarter and half inch is possible, on top of the estimated five or more inches that fell throughout the night Sunday.

The ensuing floodwaters last night caused at least 400 people to be evacuated from Prairie Lane Lake Park, while about a dozen others were rescued elsewhere in Wayne County.

Wayne County Sheriff’s Capt. Doug Hunter reported that Wooster Township Fire and Rescue, the Wooster Fire Department, the sheriff’s department and other local fire departments were at the park on the west side of Prairie Lane Road south of Wooster “to get those individuals out before they’re trapped or worse as far as the water rising.”

Earlier in the evening, eight individuals were rescued from North Bauer Road, an area that typically floods during heavy rains. Lara Kiefer, director of the Lake Erie/Heartland chapter of the American Red Cross, confirmed that her agency had been asked by the Wayne County Emergency Management Agency to open a shelter at Grace Church on Burbank Road for evacuees. A shelter opens, she said, when 35 people or more experience flooding that threatens their living area.

Evacuees were expected from Prairie Lane, plus a few other neighborhoods in the Wooster area, she said.

Many of the roads in and out of the Apple Creek area also were impassable or underwater. The Apple Creek Fire Department had four boats staging in the area for any further rescue operations.

At least two adults and two children were rescued from a home in the 5000 block of Dover Road (U.S. 250) west of Apple Creek, according to Apple Creek Volunteer Fire Department Chief Jim Zimmerman. The fire department sent one boat to the house and was assisted by the Wayne County Underwater Search and Rescue Team.

“South of town through the park took a lot of the brunt,” Zimmerman said of flooding in the village. “The land lays low and the rains came so quick and hard.”

By 10 p.m., U.S. 250 between Wooster and Mount Eaton had reopened, according to Hunter. The Ohio Department of Transportation closed the road shortly after the rains began around 3:30 p.m. on Sunday.

Hunter attributed the flooding in Apple Creek to the “great amount of rain in a relatively short amount of time.” Areas that normally drain without a problem got overwhelmed by the quick and heavy rainfall, he said.

“It’s typical of your downspout at home. If you get a large amount of rain in a short amount of time, those downspouts will overflow,” Hunter said.
Floodwaters also caused major disruptions on the south end of Wooster.

The Wayne County Engineer’s Office had Prairie Lane closed between Old Columbus Road and State Route 83, Honeytown Road between U.S. 250 and Old Lincoln Way, McCoy Road south of US 250, and Tolbert Road east of Fredericksburg Road.

Eastbound and westbound lanes of U.S. 30 around the Madison Avenue exit in Wooster were flooded, according to Brock Yoder, the foreman on call for the Wayne County Engineer’s Office. Yoder also warned residents to avoid the areas of Timken Road, Madison Avenue and South Bever Street, which were all flooded, and to use caution between the Madison Avenue and state Route 3.

The following roads within the city of Wooster also remain closed: East and West Henry Street, Freedlander Road, Maple Street, Grosjean Road, Timken Road, Prairie Lane, Spruce Street, Old Columbus Road, Bauer Road, Industrial Boulevard, South Grant Street and Vine Street.

The National Weather Service placed Wayne County under a flash flood warning around 5 p.m. on Sunday. The warning later was extended to 5:30 a.m. Monday. The rain was falling at approximately 1 inch per hour during the heaviest periods on Sunday afternoon, according to the NWS.

After the continued rain Monday, the NWS predicts the clouds will part and the sun will return on Tuesday. The temperatures will fall back down to the mid-70s after staying at or above 90 for much of the weekend.

— Reporter Tami Mosser contributed to this story.

 This story was updated at 9:15 a.m. Monday.

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