Flood city

We should be used to this by now.
Flooding is, after all, part of Hancock County’s DNA. But the flash flooding that swamped the Blanchard River watershed early Thursday while most were sleeping, or trying to, did nothing but shake our confidence. Again.
When three or four inches of rain falls on ground that is already saturated, flooding can happen at high speed.
Oh, sure, we knew it was coming. The weather experts had been warning us for several days that flooding was possible from early Thursday to Friday.
Some may have been reminded in the middle of the night when alerts came over their cellphones or landlines.
If we’ve learned anything over the years, it is that our worst flooding occurs when the heaviest rains hit to the south of Findlay and the Blanchard River is fed by Eagle and Lye creeks.
That appears to be the case, once again. While southern Hancock County got more than three inches, Hardin County reportedly got even more.
By the time the Blanchard crests sometime today, this flood could rank in the top five of all time. Even if it crests under the National Weather Service prediction of 17 feet, it will still mean five of the highest crests will have occurred in the past decade.
No two floods, of course, are ever alike. And a 17-foot flood today may cause less property damage than the last 17-footer did in 1981. But that’s no consolation to those who still flood.
Everything Hancock County has done over the past decade has made a difference. Every home that has been bought and razed helps, as does every logjam that has been removed. Next year there will be more space for water to go during floods when the Blanchard River is widened west of downtown Findlay.
But even that won’t be enough to put our minds at ease when flood warnings are issued.
Somehow, those who suffer flood damage this week will bounce back, again. No doubt frustrations will surface that more must be done to minimize harm done by future flooding. Of course, we do.
But no matter what flood-control measures we take, we will always be at the mercy of Mother Nature. If this is what three or four inches can do, imagine five or six or 10. Perhaps we needed this wake-up call to remind us of how much we still must do.
Yes, we should be used to this, but no, we should never get used to this.


About the Author