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The day after the storm — the cleanup begins

Beacon Journal staff report

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The sun may be shining now, but the impact of Wednesday’s severe storms is still being felt.

Hundreds of Akron-area homeowners are left to contend with water-soaked basements and cars that were inundated by the high water.

In Akron alone, the city reports an estimated 200 homes were flooded.

The scene is being replayed throughout the region — from Medina to Barberton to Portage County — where creeks and storm sewers were overwhelmed by the torrential downpour.

Some roads in the region remain closed as crews remove downed trees and wait for the water to recede.

Officially, the National Weather Service reported 2.08 inches of rain on Wednesday at the Akron-Canton Airport in the city of Green.

But rainfall was heavier in select spots.

The weather service confirmed that West Akron and elsewhere got 3 to 5 inches of rain.

Mantua in northern Portage County got 3.31 inches of rain, according to the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network.

Other totals it reported included: Macedonia, 0.88 inches; Wadsworth, 2.57 inches; Medina, 1.02 inches; Ravenna, 1.10 inches; Streetsboro, 1.44 inches; Wooster, 0.70 inches and Canton, 0.54 inches.

The weather service’s office in Wilmington in Southwest Ohio reported that Loveland in Clermont County got 5 inches of rain in less than two hours on Wednesday.

The rainfall brought Akron-Canton’s total to 4.97 inches for the month of July — 3.66 inches above normal.

The Akron-Canton area has gotten 23.14 inches of rain since Jan. 1 — 2.27 inches above normal.

The Cuyahoga River saw its volume increase fivefold for about four hours as a result of Wednesday’s rains.

The river was at 5.26 feet at a gauge off North Portage Path in the Merriman Valley in North Akron. The flow was about 1,100 cubic feet per second.

The flow jumped to 9.62 feet at 4:30 p.m., 11.82 feet at 5 p.m., 13.35 feet at 5:30 p.m. and peaked at 14.28 feet at 6:30 p.m., before starting to recede. The 6:30 p.m. flow was about 5,600 cubic feet per second.

By 8 a.m. Thursday, the river’s flow was down to 9 feet or about 3,400 cubic feet per second.

The weather service on Thursday confirmed that a small tornado touched down near Rowsburg in Ashland County about 4 p.m. Wednesday.

It traveled about a mile at tree tops with wind speeds of 75 miles per hour.

One house was damaged, one barn was flattened and five farm animals were killed.

The weak tornado was at tree top height and about 15 yards wide, the weather service said.

On Thursday, Akron Peninsula and Riverview roads in the Merriman Valley were both closed by high water south of Ira Road in Cuyahoga Falls.

The National Park Service also reported that Stanford Road north of the Stanford House and Riverview Road at Vaughn Road in Brecksville were both closed by flooding.

Metro Parks, Serving Summit County, on Thursday closed 22 miles of the popular Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail that it oversees in Summit County.

The Towpath Trail is closed from Lock 29 in Peninsula north to the Station Road Bridge Trailhead.

The Lock 29 Trailhead in Peninsula was also closed, and the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad is not running because of sand washed from a culvert near North Howard Street in Akron. Crews are working to remove the sand.

FirstEnergy Corp. utility crews continue working to restore about 40,000 customers who remain without service after strong storms moved through Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

More than 200,000 FirstEnergy utility customers were affected by the storm.

As of 10 a.m. Thursday, FirstEnergy outage totals include:

•West Penn Power – About 11,000 customers.

•Mon Power – About 12,000 customers.

•Ohio Edison – About 8,400 customers.

•Toledo Edison – About 7,000 customers.

•The Illuminating Company – Less than 2,000 customers.

The majority of customers are expected to be restored throughout the day today, with customers in some of the more heavily damaged areas restored by midnight Friday, FirstEnergy said.

Columbus-based American Electric Power said that about 85,000 customers in Stark and other Ohio counties are without power, as of 9 a.m. Thursday.

It said a total of 152,000 customers lost power during the storm, but 67,000 have gotten power back, the company said.

To assist its residents cleaning up after the storm, Akron will allow them to put out flooding debris, along with their trash, through July 26.

Akron residents are asked to call 311 from home phones or 330-375-2311 from any phone to schedule a free pickup of storm debris. Pickups will occur on normally scheduled pickup days.

Residents normally aren’t permitted to put material out before 4:30 p.m. the day before their pickups. The city will waive this rule until July 26. Residents are encouraged to bring wet and damaged material out of their basements as soon as possible and put it on the curb strip.

The special pickups won’t count against the three special pickups the city offers its customers each year.


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