While the winds remained mostly mild, nearly four inches of water pounded the area Monday night into Tuesday morning, causing flash flooding, disabled vehicles, sink holes and massive water damage throughout Washington County.
It was the most rain in a single day in Marietta since Sept. 17, 2004, when remnants of Hurricane Ivan dropped 4.87 inches and caused massive flooding.
The Washington County Sheriff’s Office responded to two disabled vehicle calls on Oxbow Road throughout the night and found a third washed away vehicle in the process, said Lt. Randy Stackpole.
“We got a call from a female who needed rescued on Oxbow Road about 5:55 in the morning,” he said.
By the time the Dunham Volunteer Fire Department and deputies arrived on scene near Oxbow Road and St. Andrews Boulevard, the driver, 18-year-old Michelle N. Mackey, of 1895 Dugan Road, Belpre, had made it safely to dry land. However, her entire full size Chevy Silverado truck was submerged in a soy bean field approximately 150 yards off the roadway, said Stackpole.
The sheriff’s office also got a call late Monday night from a man who called from his home to say his vehicle had been swept away on Oxbow Road earlier. A couple yards away was another vehicle which appeared to have been abandoned after being swept slightly off the road, he said.
“Talking to some people in the area, they’ve only seen flash flooding that bad one other time and that was in 1998,” said Stackpole.
The storm also ravaged some localized areas in Marietta.
The city received 3.7 inches of rain between midnight and 7 a.m., according to precipitation readings taken at Marietta’s Wastewater Treatment Plant. It is the most rain that has fallen in a single day this year, said local weather watcher Charlie Worsham, and the most on a single day in August since 1989.
“We haven’t had anything close to three inches all this year. We haven’t even had anything over two,” he said.
It also surpassed the entire monthly precipitation totals for January, February, March, April, and May, added Worsham.
City streets superintendent Todd Stockel said the high volume of water was too much for some of the city’s storm drains.
“We had to close Second, Third, and Hart streets, which we normally don’t have to do. It’s just so much water, the drains can’t take it,” he said.
Despite the closure, at least two cars were disabled in the 100 block of Third Street overnight.
Just after midnight the Marietta Police Department and Marietta Fire Department assisted a vehicle that had started to float.
Still on scene after pushing that vehicle to dry ground, a second vehicle and driver tried to entered the roadway and became disabled, said Capt. Jack Hansis of the Marietta Fire Department.
“We had both ends controlled with lights and vehicles. All the red and blue flashing lights just didn’t dawn on them so they just came on through,” he said.
No one was injured in either of the incidents, he said.
The quickly rising waters even disabled a police vehicle.
“We had a cruiser get flooded on the 100 block of North Second Street. It had to be towed,” said Marietta Police Capt. Jeff Waite.
The city streets department spent Tuesday morning cleaning up the mud and debris left on roads, investigating sink holes and jetting out storm drains.
Several very small sink holes will need to be inspected via camera and then dug up and repaired.
None of the sink holes are very sizable, noted Stockel.
The largest, located along the double yellow line on the 200 block of Butler Street, is about the size of a person’s fist, he said.
One drain on Greene Street blocked up and caused flooding in several area basements.
Greg Black owns a rental property on Greene Street that flooded overnight.
“We’re going now to pump out all the water. There’s probably about two feet of water down there,” he said of the building’s basement.
Another Greene Street resident, Lynn Vermaaten, said she woke up to discover that the water had come up a couple inches in her basement.
“We’ve lived here almost 35 years. This is maybe only the second or third time we’ve ever had water in the basement,” said Vermaaten, who added that city crews had been cleaning the street and clearing the drains Tuesday morning.
While coping with damage throughout Marietta, the city also a messy situation on its hands close to home. The roof at Marietta’s City Hall building once again experienced leaking during the heavy rains.
The roof, which is in the process of being replaced by Canton-based Buxton Roofing, first became a problem in July when heavy rains caused major leaks, damaging city property and forcing the Marietta Police Department dispatch to temporarily relocate.
The dispatch office stayed dry, but water dripped elsewhere in the building, said Waite.
“It made a pretty good puddle on the landing going up to where the old (Marietta Municipal) Court was,” said Waite.
Station One of the Marietta City Fire Department is also part of City Hall.
Water began leaking into the department’s kitchen on the second floor sometime after midnight, said Chief C.W. Durham.
“We’re not sure where its coming from. They’ve only done part of the roof, so we’re not sure if it’s where they are re-roofing or part of the old roof still leaking,” he said.
The department was able to contain the leaking, which caused damage to several ceiling tiles and some cabinets.
The storm is also thought to have caused problems with the station’s phone lines. Many callers trying to reach Station One Tuesday were only getting a busy signal, said Hansis. Callers were directed to 911 for emergencies and to Station Four for non-emergencies while a crew from AT&T worked to fix the issue. By late Tuesday afternoon, the lines were working normally.