Cars submerged in flood waters in University Circle, rain may not have been the only factor

CLEVELAND, Ohio - Rain water gushed downhill into University Circle on Monday, flooding MLK Drive and Cedar Road.

Many drivers either faced traffic or had to find another route to work during the morning commute as flooding shut down the area. 

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Three drivers tried to make it through the high water but ended up getting stuck and had to be towed.

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So what factors led to this flooding? Did all that water come from rain alone?

A spokesperson for the Cleveland Water Department said there were no broken waterlines when the flooding occurred. However, there were clogged catch basins that couldn’t handle the run off. City crews cleaned them out Monday.

But, that may not have been the only problem and contributing factor.

The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District is conducting a huge construction project nearby at Doan Brook. The sewer district is digging a mammoth tunnel that will store storm water runoff until it can be treated and sent to Lake Erie.

On Monday afternoon, sewer district spokesperson Jen Elting said they’re not 100 percent sure the construction didn’t somehow add to the flooding, and the sewer district is investigating if it played a role.

Elting did say University Circle and the surrounding area has grown substantially in recent years, which could have played a factor in the flooding.

“The more we develop and the more impervious surface we have on the ground, there’s fewer places for the rain water to soak into the ground, so the water has to go somewhere, and so what we’re doing right now at the sewer district is we’re trying to build up a lot of capacity back into the system so we have somewhere for that water to go,” Etling said.

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