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Homeowners cope with floodwater damage across Northeast Ohio

Posted at 9:07 PM, May 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-17 02:34:26-04

NORTH RIDGEVILLE, Ohio — Parts of Northeast Ohio are still submerged in flood waters.

Friday’s heavy rainfall left behind severe damage in several communities, including North Ridgeville.

Lauren Thome is a second-grade teacher. She said she had just finished a virtual lesson for her students Friday night when she got a warning from a neighbor.

“[He] was just saying 'move your car, get anything that you can take upstairs,'” Thome said. “I’m just very thankful that he gave me that heads up. I would say after that I was in my living room and could hear bubbling by my fireplace and the patio filling up.”

About 30 minutes later, Thome said her North Ridgeville home was filled with about seven inches of floodwater. Thome was eventually rescued by city firefighters.

“They were having a rescue boat for different members of our community so they were able to take me and a friend picked me up to go to the top of Center Ridge to meet my family to figure out the next steps,” she said. “Just moving in here in September and just a few months ago I finished freshly painting everything, new furniture so that was just incredibly sad.”

Mayor Kevin Corcoran said the city’s sewage system was overwhelmed, but his team is working on a solution to help prevent flooding through a new detention basin project.

“We’re working on getting some easements and some funding for that project but that is going to have a huge impact in the future,” Corcoran said.

Corcoran said the city has tried to remedy the problem before.

“It’s something that unfortunately has happened in the past. We’ve spent a lot of time, money and effort to try and fix things but clearly it just wasn’t enough,” Corcoran said. “If you look at the different areas of the city that had been affected, those areas that we have worked on were impacted less than they have been the last time an event like this happened, but overall you know we’re still trying to accumulate the information and figure out what actually went wrong this time.”

But flooding continues to be an issue across the region. The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District said constant heavy rainfall isn’t helping.

“If that rain yesterday had occurred over 12 or 24 hours, we likely wouldn’t have seen the problems we saw,” said Director of Watershed Programs, Frank Greenland. “It’s going to take time, we can’t construct everywhere but we’re doing the best we can to develop really sound solutions and start to implement designing constructions projects to start to alleviate these problems.”

Meanwhile homeowners like Thome are trying to move forward.

“You have those other plans that you’re excited for a weekend, but today its cleaning and helping get everything out to start fresh,” Thome said.

The Cuyahoga County Board of Health is urging them to take extra precaution to prevent any infections.

“You want to use obviously rubber boots, goggles, gloves. You know the main thing too, you want to make sure there’s no electrical hazards,” said Water Quality Supervisor Nate McConoughey.

The CDC said traces of coronavirus have been found in untreated wastewater but said the risk of transmitting coronavirus through wastewater is low.