Storm causes flooding, power outages in Tallmadge

Firefighters rescue two from submerged cars on East Avenue

by Jaime Gerard | Editor Published:

Tallmadge -- While the forecast calls for continued precipitation throughout this weekend, hopefully the heavy rain, high winds, tornadic activity, lighting, thunder and hail Northeast Ohio residents experienced the afternoon and evening of May 12 will not be on the meteorological menu.

Flooding, unfortunately, will continue to remain a problem.

The Akron-Canton Airport reported close to 1 1/2 inches of rain May 12, while the city of Akron reported as much as 4 inches of rain fell in some areas of the city -- and all within a two-hour period.

Tallmadge Fire Chief Patrick Gaffney told the Express firefighters responded to a fire alarm at a West Avenue residence related to a water issue from the storm at 10 p.m. Monday.

By 10:30 p.m., Gaffney said there were four cars stranded in the 100 block of East Avenue, trapping two occupants in the water. Fire personnel extricated the two individuals from their vehicles with no injuries, he added.

Still later, at 11:15 p.m., a utility worker working on the power outage suffered an injury to his right foot from a truck stabilizer, said Gaffney, noting Tallmadge EMS transported him to the emergency room at Summa/St. Thomas Hospital where he was treated and released.

According to Police Lt. Ron Williams, Tallmadge experienced flooding on the Circle, east at the tracks, East Howe Road at Carter's Lake, East Howe Road at Hughes Drive and Northeast Avenue near Bentley Place.

"Each caused the road to be closed briefly until the storm water drained," said Williams, adding "There were reports of cars submerged on the Circle and East Avenue, [although] everything was open by the morning rush."

"The power went out, at least on the east side of town, for about an hour, so sump pumps were not working."

Williams said he was not aware of any flooded basements, but considered it a safe bet there were some.

Pickwick Lane resident Justin Griffith was one of those unlucky homeowners.

Griffith told the Express he and his wife and their two sons, ages 4 and 1, spent the duration of the tornado warning in their basement watching Curious George to pass the time and keep their boys relaxed.

After the rain had stopped and the tornado warning had ended, they all returned upstairs and went to bed.

The following morning Griffith said when he went into his basement to do some laundry, he discovered 2 to 3 inches of water had found its way into the basement overnight.

"I spent most of my day bringing furniture, area rugs and personal belongings outside to air out," he said

While taking his belongings outside to dry, Griffith ran into neighbors who had experienced flooding as well.

Mayor Dave Kline was out in the city assessing flood damage until midnight that night.

"We did have some flooding issues, obviously. I think we were fortunate compared to some of our neighboring communities," he said, citing Cuyahoga Falls as an example, where the first floor of the city building flooded and someone had to be cut out of his/her their house to be rescued.

"We had a few basement floods. I've never seen that much water that quick," he said.

Kline explained the water drained into the sewer system quickly and the Circle was partially flooded at the point where it has flooded before -- East Avenue at the Speedway gas station. The Northeast quadrant of the city suffered flood damages as well, he said.

"All in all, I think the city of Tallmadge fared pretty well," Kline conceded.

As of May 13, city workers were clearing out debris from ditches and catch basins to keep the pipes clear.

Contact the editor at 330-541-9429 or jgerard@recordpub.com

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