After heavy rains, downtown Clinton often spends some time underwater, Street Commissioner Terry Siegenthaler said. But this week’s flooding is one of the worst he’s seen in the last half century.
“It’s not the worst one we’ve had,” Siegenthaler said Tuesday. But, he added, only two years — 1969 and 1997 — come to mind as more severe.
“I’ve seen it all,” Siegenthaler said. “[I’ve] lived here all my life and worked here almost 30 years.”
Siegenthaler said the village often has to close one of the two main roads downtown after heavy rains. But this year, as in other bad years, North and Main streets are both closed and more rain is in the forecast.
“It happens sometimes a couple of times a year, but not as bad as this year,” he said. “Usually anytime it rains, it shuts one road down.”
Siegenthaler said the village has investigated solutions to the problem, but there’s no easy fix. The Tuscarawas River runs through town, and the village is built on low ground.
Fortunately, there are only a couple of businesses and homeowners affected when the village floods downtown, one of those being Clinton Auto Repair at the juncture of North and Main streets.
A few years ago, the Federal Emergency Management Agency tore down six homes in the flood zone.
“We’re down to two or three homes that get [flooded],” he said.
Siegenthaler said flooding usually leaves behind sticks, trash and other debris when the waters recede. He’s seen cars taken by the floodwaters in prior years.
In this bout of flooding, he saw a dumpster floating down the flooded roads.
“By now, it might be in Massillon,” he said.
Alan Ashworth can be reached at 330-996-3859 or emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @newsalanbeaconjournal.