Summit County declared a State of Emergency on Friday as residents and businesses continue the clean up and assess the damage from Monday’s storms.
Summit County Executive Russ Pry said the declaration is the first step for the county and communities to seek emergency state and federal funds.
The county’s Emergency Management Agency is in the process of gathering damage assessment reports to see if the area qualifies for any funds.
Northeast Ohio was clobbered Monday evening by a series of storms that spawned funnel clouds and dropped torrential rain.
Some areas of Summit County had to contend with as much as 4 inches of rain that fell over the span of just a couple of hours.
The heavy rain washed out roads and flooded countless basements.
In Akron, 70 residents reported that their basements flooded from the storm.
The number of homes damaged was even worse in Cuyahoga Falls where 681 callers informed the city of storm-related issues including more than 200 reports of flooded basements and related problems as a result of the rain.
The rain also flooded the basements of countless homes in Stow, including some residences where the basement walls collapsed.
The damage to Holy Family School in Stow was so extensive the parish had to close the private school for the week to clean up the mess. The school hopes to reopen on Monday after an air quality test is conducted this weekend.
The parish scrambled in the wake of the storm, which scattered furniture and filled basements with 4 to 6 feet of water.
A volunteer crew of more than 100 people then flooded the parish Thursday night, accomplishing so much that Deacon John Green, who has been coordinating cleanup efforts, had to cancel a request for more volunteers.
“We put out a message on social media asking media to not come out,” Green said. “We had well over 100 people show up last night and we got much of the work done on the grounds. It was fantastic. We had families, scouts, all sorts of people showing up.” Parishioners worked doubly hard, Green said, knowing that a funeral for Al Bugaj, 67, would be held Sunday.
Bugaj, who passed away unexpectedly of a heart attack Tuesday, was a member of the parish and husband of the school’s secretary.
“It’s been a hard week for the parish,” said Green, considering all the losses.
The parish has yet to estimate the full damage but expects its insurance with the Cleveland Catholic Diocese to help with what may be millions of dollars in expenses.
Pry said all the information gathered by the county from the communities will be sent in for review by the Ohio Emergency Management Agency for disaster relief.
The county is urging residents who have not yet reported storm-related damage to call their respective communities so the information can be forwarded to state and federal officials.
Another casualty of the storm is the Canal boat rides aboard the St. Helena III that have been canceled for today.
St. Helena Heritage Park and its parking lot are closed due to flooding.
Today’s cancellations include the Northwest High School football team fundraiser event scheduled for 4 p.m. Members of the team were going to try to outperform the horses used in pulling the canal boat.
The team intends to reschedule on a date to be determined.
As of Friday afternoon, the city said it was unclear if St. Helena III rides would resume Sunday.
The Canal Fulton Canalway Center will remain open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Visit www.cityofcanalfulton-oh.gov or call 330-854-6835 for updates about the boat rides.