Monday night was not the first time Karla Bechter has battled floodwaters from what usually is a small creek running behind her house in Bath Township.
Floodwaters raced into her home in 2003, but Monday night’s storm was worse.
Bechter spent time on Tuesday assessing the mud-caked furniture in the front yard of her home off Yellow Creek Road.
Bechter said she huddled during the tornado warning in a first-floor closet since her house doesn’t have a basement with the television blaring nearby to listen for updates and a weather radio.
Around 9 p.m., she decided she should look outside to see if she should evacuate her home.
“There was just a torrential downpour. You couldn’t see anything,” Bechter said.
Her fears that the Yellow Creek’s waters would rise were realized when she opened her garage and saw the creek’s swelling waters heading straight toward the house.
She decided it was time to head for higher ground and waded through ankle-deep water to her SUV and left.
“I grabbed my purse, cell phone and a bag — I had been planning on leaving for vacation, so I at least have some clothes,” Bechter said.
She sought refuge at a nearby gas station until relatives could come get her.
When she returned to the house around 1 or 2 a.m., the water had receded from the yard but she found 5 feet of standing water throughout the first floor of her home. One of her cars in the garage was under water and she fears it is totaled.
Workers and family members worked Tuesday to sweep mud from the floors and carpets of Bechter’s first floor. A water line mark is visible on the walls and above stairs leading up to the second floor.
Bechter said everything on the first floor is damaged — the only blessing is that she has flood insurance.
But Bechter said she doesn’t know whether she will stay in the house after she cleans up.
“It was my dream home, but I can’t live like this anymore. I’m a sitting duck,” she said, referring to her home built in 2002.
Standing water in Akron
Officially, the Akron-Canton Airport got 1.48 inches of rain on Monday. Cleveland Hopkins International Airport got 2.64 inches, most of which fell in a two-hour period, the National Weather Service reported.
The city of Akron reported that as much as 4 inches of rain fell in some spots in the community.
In Akron’s Merriman Valley, many parking lots and roads were left mud and gravel covered. Tree limbs were down throughout the valley as residences and businesses cleaned up Tuesday.
At Riverview and Smith roads in North Akron, city Highway Maintenance crews used a backhoe to clear mud and standing water while a white Jeep still remained on the now-almost dry road Tuesday morning.
Workers Jeff May and John Allen said two cars were stranded.
May said one motorist showed workers pictures of her car floating on Riverview Road on Monday night. She said she climbed out through the sunroof, and her boss came to get her. May said her car “was solid muck.”
Akron spokeswoman Stephanie York said 70 or so homes suffered flooded basements in the city.
To assist residents with flood damage, York said, residents will be allowed to put debris on the curb for pickup. Residents are asked to call 311 from a home phone or 330-375-2311 to schedule the free pickup of the additional trash.
York said the cleanup from the storms may set the city back two weeks in its pothole repairs.
Cuyahoga Falls City Hall flooded
Cuyahoga Falls City Hall was closed Tuesday after waist-high water filled its lower level.
The flood water temporarily took out the city’s main phone line — although the city’s 911 and non-emergency numbers for police and fire emerged unscathed.
The flood impacted the city’s Information Technology department that had just completed repairs from another flood in February when a water line broke.
The city’s jail also flooded and had to be closed.
Cathy Meacham, assistant to Mayor Don Walters, said there were reports of flooded homes and submerged vehicles. The walls to three homes collapsed.
More than a foot of water flooded the lower parts of Crown Granite & Marble on State Road in Cuyahoga Falls.
Owner Fred Balkanloo said damage may be as high as $100,000 and that he had to send most of his 15-person staff home for the day while others helped with cleanup.
He blamed his flooding on long-standing storm water issues in the area.
“The storm sewer, it’s not adequate,” Balkanloo said.
Lower-level display cabinets and cabinets awaiting delivery to customers were damaged by flooding and will need to be replaced, he said. Insurance likely will not pay for the damage, he said. The building will need a thorough cleaning as well, he said.
“It’s so frustrating,” he said.
The basements of two homes in Stow — one on Marhofer Avenue and the other on Greentree Road — collapsed during Monday night’s storm.
“The basements were blown out by the water,” Stow Mayor Sara Drew said Tuesday. “The basement walls caved in but the homes are still standing. Luckily, no one was injured in those.”
The mayor added that the Ron Marhofer car dealership on Darrow Road was also damaged. The dealership, which was open for business Tuesday, declined to comment as staff worked to clean and dry the property.
“It was just an unbelievable storm last night and we have seen a lot of damage,” Drew said.
Bath police reported that a bridge over Yellow Creek on Shaw Road near Granger Road was severely damaged.
In Medina Township, about 15 homes at Weymouth and Granger roads were evacuated late Monday due to high water, said township Police Chief Dave Arbogast.
The water from the Rocky River was 3- to 4-feet deep.
Township fire crews and police went door to door with a boat on Granger Road to get people out safely.
Dick Goddard rescued
Two vehicles were buried in water at Interstate 71 and state Route 3, including one driven by Cleveland television meteorologist Dick Goddard. Arbogast said Goddard drove off the I-71 ramp to state Route 3 and buried his car in high water in a low-lying spot off the ramp.
Crews had to rescue Goddard about 11:20 p.m. along with another motorist.
The two cars were “pretty much totally submerged,” he said.
Arbogast said cars were also underwater in the 4500 block and trees were downed in the 4300 block of Hamilton Road. Cars were underwater at the busy intersection of Fenn and Pearl roads.
Denise Green, who lives on Ledge Road, said the force of the water pushed over the culvert at the end of her driveway.
Green said she is dismayed that neither the township, the county nor the Ohio Department of Transportation would help replace the entrance to her driveway that is now standing on its end.
Betty Lin-Fisher can be reached at 330-996-3724 or email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/blinfisherABJ and see all her stories at www.ohio.com/betty. Beacon Journal staff writers Bob Downing, Doug Livingston and Rick Armon contributed to this article.