Blanchard River crests near 17 feet - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Blanchard River crests near 17 feet

Source: (Jay Sutherland) Source: (Jay Sutherland)
FINDLAY, OH (WTOL) -

Findlay area residents are no strangers to high waters and flooding. Once it starts raining heavily, they know what to expect. But no one quite expected this. 

The Blanchard River crested Friday at about noon at 16.5 feet. 

The flood is the fourth-highest crest in the history of the Blanchard River in Findlay. 

Water levels are expected to go below flood stage by Sunday night.

Mayor Mihalik reminds drivers to "turn around, don't drown" and avoid high water. 

At 1 p.m., crews closed the Main Street Bridge due to flooding concerns. By 6 p.m. water was spilling across Main Street, essentially cutting the town in half.

One resident said that the flooding and road closures hinder him from going to work,

"This is a main road I take to work every day. I can't get to where I work, where I'm supposed to be at the moment, due to all the flooding area. With people's houses being flooded I'm probably be busy helping them today. It's a big pain trying to get around when you have a lot of water to avoid," the man said.

Mariah Stockard was attempting to walk through the water to get to her boyfriend's store on Main Street, but deemed it too risky to try to make it through the deep, moving water. 

"It can be risky here in Findlay but we never thought it would be this bad. This is definitely not something we were ready for," Stockard said. 

The city of Findlay tells residents that if they have any debris due to the flooding, they will pick it up for free. Residents must have that debris on their curb no later than 7 a.m. on Tuesday.

Hancock County officials say the county is under a level 2 flood warning, which warrants a state of emergency. 

One resident said she has lived in Findlay for 31 years and never experienced water or flood damage until Thursday morning. 

"Never really in the West Park area. I'm not sure if it's the clay or what happens with that but it doesn't flood. So for me to wake up in the morning and my kids being like, 'there's a flood in the yard', I was like 'oh my gosh'", said Melanie McMaster. 

'We're just trying to make the best of the situation," said Findlay mayor Linda Mihalik. "We've been through events similar to this in the past, obviously a lot less than 17 feet. This doesn't come necessarily to the level of August 2007 which was an excess of 18 feet, but it will still be a major flood event for us.

Mayor Mihalik also asks residents who have non-emergency questions and concerns to call 419-424-7000.

The highest crest in Findlay was 18.5 feet in August 2007. 

The Blanchard River crested at 31.4 feet in Ottawa on August 23 of the same year.

While flooding is nothing new to Findlay, a lifelong resident says it's happening more often.

"It used to be you had the floods every 40, 50 years or something like that," said Jeff Heitmeyer. "Now it seems like you are having them every other year."

While some residents accept the flooding risks, others are outraged the city has not done more to prevent the now-common overflowing of the Blanchard River.

"It is what it is," said Julie Crom. "They haven't done anything to fix the flooding problems. So we have to deal with it every time it comes."

There are many roads that remain closed due to high water in the Findlay area. Don't risk going through high water because you never know what is under the water. 

Meanwhile, the mayor extended all utility payment deadlines until Monday due to the flooding.

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