Residents and motorists dealt with heavy rain and closed roads in Portage County on Jan. 12, something officials say is unusual for mid-January.
Ryan Shackelford, director of the Portage County Emergency Management Agency, said unseasonably warm temperatures helped drive calls about flooding, particularly in northern Portage County that may have received heavy snowfall if temperatures were colder.
The EMA, he said, received calls in the Mantua Township and Shalersville area, and also fielded concerns about the Eagle Creek area of Garrettsville. Other areas affected included Palmyra, where three roads were closed, and parts of Nelson, Suffield and Deerfield townships.
"We would expect something like this in April, when you have the first spring thaw and heavy rains," he said. Temperatures, he said, hovered around 60 degrees, and temperatures above 50 are expected next week.
No major problems were reported by Aurora officials, although there were several areas of standing water for a period of time.
"Road closed" signs were posted at Pierce, Hopkins and Silica Sand because of water over Parkman Road in Nelson Township.
Signs were also post on Coit Road in Shalersville after water overflowed there. One car was washed off the road before road crews could post "road closed" signs there.
Shackelford and EMA crews were on scene throughout the county in the afternoon conducting inspections of damaged property and incident reports. The agency regularly monitors the county for severe weather incidents, including hard rainfall.
In Streetsboro, several roads were were closed for hours, including Russell Drive near Dorothy Drive, Route 303 between Stone Road and Jefferson Street, and the section of Aurora-Hudson Road just short of the Wellman Road intersection. Russell Drive and Aurora-Hudson Road reopened shortly before noon.
Streetsboro Police Chief Darin Powers said it was not a surprise, given the rain, that some roads experienced flooding.
"When we have heavy rain, we have areas we know are going to be an issue because we've had them before," he said.
The residents of about 24 apartment units at Streetsboro Village Square could not get out of their complex during the flooding, according to Powers.
"Our advice to them would be to ask for a ride from friends or family," he said. "The problem is, driving across the lawn isn't really the best option."
Evergreen Cemetery, which is located just southeast of Streetsboro High on Route 14, also flooded according to Streetsboro resident Eric Howard.
Streetsboro Mayor Glenn Broska said the flooding was anticipated.
"Overall, we weathered the storm pretty well," he said. "Even on the TV stations, they warned us flooding may occur. I think it just overwhelms the system."
Most roads across the county that were temporarily closed reopened late in the afternoon, but Shackelford warned motorists to avoid driving through standing water if they spot it on area streets.
"Any time you see standing water, you don't know how deep it is," he said.
The EMA issues information about natural disasters and severe weather situations through a new mobile app and website, available to all Portage County residents and anyone looking for information. The Portage County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency app is free and offers safety alerts to users.