2011-12-07 / Front Page

November Rains Drench Area; 8.65 Inches Recorded

by David Pugh
Buckeye Staff Writer

Rain that fell on Northwest Ohio from Nov. 22-29 set at least one record and put area roadways underwater Tuesday, Nov. 29.

Much of the water receded by late last week, and roads were reopening.

The Archbold Wastewater Treatment Plant, which keeps weather records, reported about 3.7 inches of rain on Nov. 28-29.

Over the eight-day period of Nov. 22-30, 6.9 inches of rain fell. A total of 8.65 inches was recorded in November.

The 2011 total is the largest for November since 2005, when 4.85 inches fell.

Sara Chamberlain, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in North Webster, Ind., said the weather station at the Defiance Airport recorded 7.59 inches of rain for November, the highest amount since the government began recording weather information in 1850. That's more than five inches above average, she said.

Fort Wayne, Ind., recorded 6.09 inches of rain in November, three inches more than normal.

Chamberlain said, in general, the overall area was covered by a weather pattern with a lot of precipitation.

“Over the period of the 27th through the 29th, it dropped a lot of rain, followed by a heavy snowfall,” she said.

Worst

Dan Leininger, German Township road superintendent, said the flooding was the worst he’s seen in his years of taking care of the township roads.

All of the usual places that flood did, including

Co. Rd. 26 between Co. Rds. E and F,

Co. Rd. F between Co. Rd. 24 and 25,

Co. Rd. E between Co. Rd. 24 and 25, and

Co. Rd. 24 south of Co. Rd. B-C.

Other places, which hadn’t flooded since the last big rainstorm, flooded as well. That included

Co. Rd. E from the Williams County line to Co. Rd. 26,

the bridge on Co. Rd. E-F in Goll Woods, and

Co. Rd. F-G at the intersection of Co. Rd. 26.

Leininger said Co. Rd. G was flooded between Co. Rd. 24 and Co. Rd. 25-2.

At 5:30 am, Wednesday, Nov. 30, Archbold Rescue was called to rescue a woman trapped in her car on Co. Rd. G.

Andy Brodbeck, Archbold Fire Department chief, said the woman was eastbound, drove into the high water “and got stuck in the middle of the mile.

“She called us and we put our boat in. We got her out without her getting wet,” he said.

“We put her in an ambulance and checked her vital signs. She was fine,” he said.

Archbold Rescue was also called at 8:53 pm that same date to assist Stryker Rescue search for a car, reportedly submerged in storm water in the area of Williams Co. Rd. 22A, south of US 6.

Brodbeck said the Archbold dive team and the rescue boat responded, but after 45 minutes of searching, they could not locate a submerged vehicle.

Signs

Leininger said he had all of the German Township “High Water” warning signs out, but he could have used more.

The Fulton County Highway Garage was in the same situation.

Randy Merillat, county highway superintendent, said they turned to traffic cones to warn motorists.

He said the county Emergency Management Agency put out bulletins on radio and television stations, warning motorists of high water.

Merillat said he’s been with the Fulton County highway department several years, and can’t remember flooding as bad.

There were several flooded areas that had not flooded before, he said.

One problem caused by the rain was debris washing out of fields, which then clogged catch basins.

Road crews had to keep clearing debris to keep drains open.

On top of that, outlets for drainage tiles feed into creeks, and the water level in the creeks was over the level of the outlets.

Even on Monday, Merillat said crews were removing debris from catch basins and cleaning it out of ditches.

Archbold

Jason Martz, Archbold superintendent of streets, reported similar problems.

“We had some spots where the road flooded because corn stalks clogged the catch basins,” he said.

Street department workers used rakes to open the catch basins to allow storm water to drain.

No village streets were closed, but, “we had a couple of high water signs on East Lutz Road,” he said.

Bob Seaman, village engineer, said the Archbold system of storm drains is designed to cope with a fiveyear storm; that is, a storm so bad that on average, it occurs once every five years.

He estimated that the Nov. 28-29 storm was a 25- year or 50-year storm. That, combined with the saturated soils, made a greater impact.

There is no official report on the number of local basements that suffered flooding, but the Archbold auxiliary municipal building, which houses the police and engineering offices, had a flooded basement.

“We were fighting our own flooding, due to a failed sump pump. It was too old and too worn out” to handle the big storm, Seaman said.

Wastewater

The Archbold Wastewater Treatment Plant was challenged when water runoff infiltrated the sanitary sewers.

Struggles at the plant ranged from water coming into the plant faster than its 4.5 million-gallon-per-daycapacity could treat, to the driveway being underwater.

Tuesday afternoon, Nov. 29, sanitary sewer lines were surcharged to excess capacity. Excess water flowing into the plant was diverted into a detention pond for treatment later.

The plant discharges treated wastewater into Brush Creek, but on Tuesday, the creek was higher than the discharge point. A 4,000 gallon-per-minute pump was pumping treated wastewater into the creek.

At one point a large pump was pumping wastewater out of a sanitary sewer pipeline into the storm sewer.

By Monday, Frank D’Ambrosia, plant superintendent, said the level of surcharge was down, and plant workers stopped pumping operations.

“We’re looking pretty good,” he said.

While the water has receded, Merillat said, “I wouldn’t say we’re back to normal.

“The ground is pretty well saturated. It wouldn’t take much for the water to rise again.”

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If a car is traveling at 55 miles per hour it will travel 56 feet before the average driver can shift his foot from the accelerator to the brake.

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