More than 20 houses off Riverside Drive in Vermilion were evacuated Sunday afternoon due to flooding.
The area, which is prone to flooding this time of year, was evacuated about 2:30 p.m. by area fire departments and electric and gas was cut to each of the homes, according to police.
“Some people chose to stay,” said Tom Kelley, director of the Lorain County Emergency Management Agency. “Traditionally, that area floods a lot. Just about all the homes over there are built with the garages underneath and the homes up above.”
Kelley said the homes were evacuated because the water is likely to rise higher in the coming days. Warmer weather over the weekend has caused ice jam flooding in the Vermilion River, a result of ice fragments that build up to restrict the flow of water.
“The river is still jammed up with ice, and that area near Riverside Drive is a solid jam of ice,” he said. “It wants to move north, and once it lets loose we’ll probably have more problems. The broken ice is jammed against a sheet of ice right there at Riverside Drive.”
The ice jams were caused by the rapid snow melt over the last few days. As water runs off into the river, the ice begins to move and sometimes jams. A flood warning was issued Sunday afternoon for Lorain County until this morning.
A private residential area west of Riverside Drive, containing about 25 homes, also had flooding, but residents did not need to be evacuated.
“A lot of those people just got out,” Kelley said. “Someone told me the water came up so fast, within 20 to 30 minutes it came up 4 feet high.”
A mile south of the major flooding, the water was measured at 9 feet, which is a foot below flood stage. It was higher around Riverside Drive, Kelley said.
In Carlisle Township, there was also some flooding in the area behind the Elyria Country Club, but the flooding was expected to peak Sunday night. The water level reached 10 feet, which is a half-foot above flood stage, by 5 p.m., Kelley said.