Findlay and Hancock County got dumped on (again) last weekend. No big surprise there. The good news is there’s relatively little evidence less than 72 hours later.
Certainly, there’s a reminder the Blanchard River overflowed it banks and entered major flood level for the first time in almost two years. Those with property in low-lying areas have mud-stained lawns to show for it. (Most farmers have it worse. Even if fields aren’t flooded, they’re still unplowable and unplanted.)
And yes, there were reports that some Findlay basements that had stayed dry in past flood events backed up with water this time, just as some did in the 2017 flood. That’s likely due to rain water overloading the storm sewer system, something that can happen anywhere when flash flooding occurs.
And, as usual, there were some that didn’t evacuate soon enough or motorists who miscalculated the amount — and power — of the water on roads. But while there were water rescues, there were far fewer than in previous floods.
Certainly, navigating Findlay on Sunday was a challenge as it is with any flood that reaches major status, with portions of Main Cross and East Sandusky streets among the main arteries blocked due to high water.
That may have created frustration, but far less than the gridlock that occurred during some previous floods.
It’s important to note that other roads, including Broad Avenue, remained open, as did the Martin Luther King Boulevard in downtown. It required patience, but it was possible to get from one side of Findlay to the other.
Every flood since 2007 has been slightly different. If we’ve learned anything about flooding, it’s that it matters where the rain falls, how fast and how long. It used to be 2 or 3 inches of rain would swamp us, especially if it hit south of Findlay.
That wasn’t the case this time.
Eagle Creek, despite being fueled by 3.5 inches of rain in some places, crested first. It was Lye Creek that caused more problems this time around.
The latest flood in our history, which peaked at 14.06 feet, high enough for 19th all time, suggests that the “little things” we’ve been doing for the past 12 years are making a difference.
The fact that no structures in the flood plain were damaged by floodwater, according to the City of Findlay’s Facebook page, is one reason to rejoice. The fact that no one called the American Red Cross North Central Chapter for assistance is another.
That said, anyone who calls this watershed home shouldn’t forget the heartache and property damage that many suffered during the August 2007 flood. For those who have stayed and rebuilt, the bad memories can resurface each time it rains.
It can’t be quantified exactly how much the buying and razing of 162 flood-prone properties, the removal of tons of logjams from the Blanchard, and the widening of the river just west of downtown, a project now half done, has helped minimize flood damage here.
It will take more data analysis to prove we’re more flood-proof today than yesterday. But clearly, there are signs what we have done to date is making a difference.
Two days after the deluge, the area is almost back to normal. The barricades are down, the sandbags have been returned to storage and there are no piles of water-logged furniture and other household belongings waiting at the curb to be hauled away to the dump.
While the community’s flood-control efforts must continue, especially considering the frequency and volume of this spring’s rains, there’s grounds for optimism: We’ve weathered another storm.