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Drivers stranded after torrential Labor Day rains prompts widespread flash flooding

Posted at 5:39 PM, Sep 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-07 18:58:48-04

CLEVELAND — The torrential rains on the morning of Labor Day quickly inundated sewer systems, creeks, streams, and tributaries, sending quickly-moving water onto area roadways. Parts of Cleveland’s east side, in particular the area near the Cultural Gardens and Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, was hit especially hard, as the area near Superior Ave. became submerged under more than two feet of water in some places.

According to Cleveland Division of Fire officials, as many as eight drivers needed to be rescued from the fast-moving floodwaters in different spots around the city. Nathan Becker was one of them.

“There was standing water but it looked really even. Then all of a sudden my front wheels were inches deeper,” Becker said. “It was kind of just a shock at first. It wasn’t until [firefighters] started getting me out of the car, I was like, ‘oh wow.’”

With assistance from firefighters, Becker was able to open his passenger side door and treacherously wade through the quick-moving water. At the peak of the flooding, the water reached his back bumper. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. remained closed as of 6 o’clock Monday evening.

“I drive through this road almost every day. It floods out here all the time but never like that. You couldn’t see sidewalks. You couldn’t see the bases of the street lamps,” Becker said. “The other car that was there, you could see the water swirling around it. It was really intense under the bridge. I got very lucky. We’ll see how my car did.”