EMA gives update on weekend rainfall

LISBON — Although it rained all weekend, it was not enough to cause major flooding anywhere, at least not yet.

Columbiana County Emergency Management Agency Director Peggy Clark said she believes it would have been worse, but the 3.3 inches of rain — received from early Saturday morning night through early Monday — was spread over more than two days.

“It rained a lot but it was just a slow, steady rain for the most part … so we didn’t have any major flooding issues,” she said.

Minor roadway flooding occurred in some of the usual flood-prone places, such as Knox Township and the Franklin Square area of Salem Township, but not in Elkton, which is usually one of the first places in the county to flood.

East Liverpool and Wellsville on the Ohio River could still see some flooding. The river is expected to crest just above flood stage, 15.2 feet, in East Liverpool and reach 12.2 feet in Wellsville, 1.2 feet above flood stage, which would result in minor flooding there.

Clark said fire departments were busy all weekend responding to the usual incidents that accompany steady rainfalls of this sort — downed power lines and trees and water in basements. The storm left about 200 electric customers without power on Sunday but only 11 were still without power as of Monday afternoon. The predicted high wind gusts of up to 40 mph did not appear to materialize, with 12 mph being the highest sustained winds recorded at the EMA’s weather station.

The EMA also kept an eye on Salineville. “Salineville always has some creek and stream issues but the fire chief there says they’ve been lucky so far,” she said.

For perspective, consider the Nov. 18, 2017, storm that dumped between 2.5 and 3.2 inches of rain on the county in less than 24 hours, resulting in $1.22 million in damage and a state and federal disaster declaration.

Clark said she is keeping an eye on Hurricane Florence, a category four storm, which is growing and is expected to reach the Carolinas on Thursday night/Friday morning. If Florence continues inland instead of going northward along the coast that could mean more rain for Ohio at some point, but how much depends on the hurricane’s path and intensity.

“If it hits landfall Friday, we probably shouldn’t get anything until Sunday … but we’ll just have to keep watching all week,” she said.

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