Latest Flood Considered Worst in Years

Drones were deployed to document the expansive flooding that gripped the St. Marys area Friday. This image shows southbound state Route 66 at Greenville Road Friday afternoon. ContiTech is at the top of the frame.
Staff Writer

This latest flood was a bad one. Labeled as being on par with devastating floods in February 2011, the flooding on May 17 has prompted Auglaize County Emergency Management Director Troy Anderson to once again apply for state aid.

“What I was doing [Saturday] was driving around, seeing how much damage we had, how many structures were damaged on the outside,” he said. “Only thing is, that doesn’t tell me how much was damaged on the inside of the structure.”

To help Anderson with determining the extent of the damage, he created an online form for flood victims to fill out and submit before Tuesday to include with his report to the Ohio EMA. The form, which can be found on the Auglaize EMA Facebook page, offers residents a quick way to provide the scope of flooding and damaged sustained to their property, regardless of if they are a homeowner, landlord, renter or business owner.

“My recommendation is, if anyone had damage from the flood on their house, mobile home, whatever they have, to fill out one of the forms as soon as possible,” Anderson said. 

Once Anderson has received the forms, the EMA will approach the Auglaize County Commissioners for a declaration to start the process of receiving monetary aid. If the commissioners approve a declaration, the information will be presented to the State of Ohio and the governor will be able to deploy aid and send the request to the federal government.

“The state can offer zero, 12 or 25% [of aid funding] and then once the governor does that, he has the decision to send it up to the federal level where the president can do a request which allows for up to another 75% for a total of up to 100% coverage if everything goes right,” Anderson said. 

Those with property damage are also encouraged to submit photos to the EMA that will be used to show the extent of the flooding.

The push to get financial aid to the area comes from the “unprecedented” amount of water that invaded the St. Marys area. With the St. Marys River cresting at 15.6 feet, the spread of the water was farther and the depth of water entering homes was also of concern. By 2 p.m. Friday, water levels were rising at a rate of one inch per hour. 

This round of flooding came just three weeks after heavy rains filled the river to 14.6 feet and less than four weeks after the river was elevated to 10 feet deep. The normal depth of the St. Marys River is between three and four feet. 

“Within the last three weeks, we’ve had two of the largest floods — between a 100- and 500-year flood — it’s unprecedented to have this much flood damage,” Anderson said. “It’s a hardship on everybody — insurance companies, homeowners, everybody.”

Those without access to Facebook can call the Auglaize County EMA at 419-739-6725 to file a report over the phone. Anderson has also applied for “mud out teams” to aid homeowners in their cleanup efforts.

“Even if you’re a renter, fill the form out,” he added.