Dave Sekel is getting used to pumping water out the basement of his Linden Street home — Friday was the second time in less than a week.

“Last Saturday, I got 3 feet of water — today (Friday) I got a full basement,” Sekel said, noting it was about 6 feet deep at his home in Meadville’s south end.

Torrential rains overnight dumped 2.38 inches of rain between midnight Thursday and 8 a.m. Friday, according to National Weather Service observation equipment at Port Meadville Airport. The bulk of it came between 1 and 3 a.m. — 1.30 inches between 1 and 2 and 0.82 inches between 2 and 3.

While skies had cleared somewhat by Friday afternoon, the Meadville area had picked up 3.65 inches of rain between 5 p.m Wednesday and 5 p.m. Friday.

The large amount early Friday in a short period on an already rain-soaked area created run-off that overwhelmed storm drains. They became clogged as debris ran into them — backing the water up into some area homes.

“Everything’s just coming this way,” said Bob Phillips of Powell’s Sanitation Service. He and his crew were pumping out two basements on lower Park Avenue around the corner from Sekel’s home.

Phillips noted the area around Linden Street and Park Avenue is lower than other areas of the city. “The water is all coming from uptown.”

The rain caused at least 28 roads around the county to be covered with high water Friday morning, according to the Crawford County Office of Emergency Services and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

While waters receded as the day wore on, two of the roads still were closed due to high water — Snake Road in Greenwood Township in the southern part of the county and Route 173 in the village of Mt. Hope in eastern part. However, both of those roads were expected to reopen by today, said Rick Supel, PennDOT’s maintenance manager for Crawford County.

Some of the hardest hit areas in the county were Sadsbury, East Fallowfield and Vernon townships, according to Emergency Services.

All three townships reported homes with flooded basements. One residence on Lakeview Drive in Sadsbury was evacuated because of a flooded basement, the office said.

Part of Hollis Road in Vernon Township was washed out due to rain, but was repaired by late Friday afternoon, according to Township Manager David Stone.

Vernon’s Kerrtown area also hit as mud and debris washed out an area along Pennsylvania Avenue near The Boot Box. That debris then washed down to the intersection of Pennsylvania Avenue and Cussewago Road. PennDOT crews used a large front-end loader to clear the intersection.

As bad as Crawford County was hit, flooding was even worse in parts of northeastern Ohio.

Some 10 inches of rain raised the Grand River 11 feet above flood level — forcing the evacuation of about 600 residents in Painesville, The Associated Press reported. About a dozen of those rescued were on the roofs of their homes and had to be picked up by boats operating in 15 feet of water.

Despite about 6 feet of water in his basement, Sekel was calm in dealing with it.

“What are you going to do?” he said, taking a break from operating the portable gas-powered pump he’d borrowed from his brother-in-law. “You’ve got to do it yourself.”



Keith Gushard can be reached at 724-6370 or by e-mail at kgushard@meadvilletribune.com

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