Franklin Flats braces for more flooding

MILAN TWP. The murky brown water of the Huron River appeared poised to spill over its banks just bef
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010



The murky brown water of the Huron River appeared poised to spill over its banks just before noon Wednesday.

But Rick Lowry wasn't worried. Lowry's home is in Franklin Flats, which sits tight against the river and is notorious for its propensity to flood. Lowry, 50, showed no signs of panic, however. Instead, he was a man on a mission.

"I'm getting ready to move my car," he said, pointing to his 1990 Pontiac Grand Prix.

After getting his car to a safe, dry spot, Lowry planned to return home and wait out the flood.

Lowry counts himself as one of the lucky ones who lives in the Flats -- a collection of trailer homes and permanent structures, almost all of which are raised off the ground by stilts or other means to avoid the river water when it rises.

"My house is one of the highest here," Lowry said. "My basement is actually above ground.

"I'll just sit in there and watch everyone else's stuff float away," he said, puffing on a cigarette as he looked out at the river.

Tom Zellner, who lives at 9621 Riverview in Franklin Flats, loaded some beer into his station wagon as he prepared to move the car to a drier spot.

"The worst part is the cleanup," Zellner said. "Mud is everywhere."

Franklin Flats flooded just a month ago, Lowry said.

"We just got all the mud cleaned up," he said.

It looked almost certain Wednesday that Lowry would be cleaning up mud again in the near future.

"I wouldn't live anywhere else," he said.

Flooding appears to have hit Erie County harder than the surrounding counties. The sheriff's office said there were no weather-related accidents, but several roads were closed because of high water. As of Wednesday night, Patten Tract Road was closed between Fox and Bogart roads in Perkins Township, and River Road was closed south of Mason Road in Milan. In Groton Township, Ohio 269 was closed between Strecker and Knauss roads, and Hale Road was closed between Ohio 269 and Southwest Road.

The sheriff's office will re-evaluate the road conditions early today to determine their safety.

Sheriff's offices in Huron, Ottawa and Sandusky counties said they were not forced to close any roads because of flooding.

The rain, which briefly switched to snow Wednesday night, should be over by late Thursday morning, said meteorologist Andrew Ulrich of AccuWeather. He said the area saw about an inch of precipitation in the past two days.

"There's not much in the way of precipitation left. It looks like it's trying to break up," he said.

By Friday, though, rain or snow is back on the horizon.

"It does look like it's probably going to be a mess. The high right now for Friday is 37 degrees, but that could tend to get colder," he said.

Ulrich said he expects a couple of inches of snow to fall Friday. The weekend should bring 40-degree temperatures, but also high winds possibly reaching 25 miles per hour.