Flood Waters Invade St. Marys

Excess water from the Miami Erie Canal gushes through the 6 Mile Creek Aqueduct on Friday. The Aqueduct sustained structure failure because of the excessive rain that hit the area.
By: 
TERESA & JAKE DOWLING
Staff Writer

FULL STORY IS IN SATURDAY'S PRINT EDITION OF THE EVENING LEADER.

UPDATES:

5:47 p.m.: St. Marys Police Department will be removing barricades, opening traffic to Greenville Avenue and several surface streets are now starting to open. 

5:35 p.m.: Auglaize County Sheriff deputies are still not allowing traffic through past Memorial High School on state Route 66 except for emergency vehicles and those who live in the area. 

4:57 p.m.: Crews create a spillway next to the canal to allow water from the canal to run out to alleviate water from entering the aqueduct in an attempt to stabilize the historic mark at Six-Mile Creek.

4:30 p.m.: Crews from Auglaize County and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) are at Bloody Bridge, roughly a quarter of a mile south of the 6-Mile Aqueduct on state Route 66. crews are laying down boulders and stone across the Maimi-Erie Canal in attempts to slow water flow down as it reaches the aqueduct. Currently, the aqueduct remains in stable condition as water continues to flow out of it, albeit, at a slower pace than this morning.

4 p.m.: State Route 66 north of St. Marys is still closed to all traffic except for emergency vehicles and those who live in the area.

2:46 p.m.: Despite a rumor on social media, residents in Noble Township are NOT being evacuated, according to Auglaize County Emergency Management Agency Director Troy Anderson. 

2:40 p.m.: The National Weather Service extended the flood warning for the weather at 8:45 a.m. Saturday.

2:26 p.m.: Rain totals have been released by the Auglaize EMA based on reports received per town. 

Minster: 2.31 inches and 2.56 inches

New Knoxville: 3.87 inches

St. Marys: 3.92 inches, 4.07 inches, 4.37 inches

New Bremen: 3.65 inches

Celina: 3.42 inches, 3.25 inches

Wapakoneta: 2.916 inches, 3.75 inches, 2.32 inches

2:22 p.m.: Early this morning, Ohio Department of Natural Resources staff observed damage to the historic canal structure above 6-Mile Creek during a routine inspection. To limit water running through the canal and to stabilize the situation, the ODNR is installing two coffer dams and limiting flow at other points along the canal north of Grand Lake St. Marys.

ContiTech is cancelling second and third shifts its plant today.

12:52 p.m.: Huffman and Oliver streets between Wayne and Main are flooded. Greenville Road from Wayne to Main is closed.

12:24 p.m.: The Auglaize County EMA social media announced that residents in the Bloody Bridge area north of St. Marys, may be deal with a power outage if necessary while working on the Aqueduct at 6-MIle Creek.

11:34 a.m.: Flash Flood Warning until 2:30 p.m. The National Weather Service in Wilmington has issued a * Flash Flood Warning For... Northwestern Auglaize County In West Central Ohio. Emergency Management reported a possible breach at 6-mile Aqueduct along 6-Mile Creek as a result of he heavy rain that has fallen over the last 24 hours.

Just like last week, the spring skies opened up and dumped a significant amount of rainfall on St. Marys and surrounding areas. And just like last week, residents and municipalities were left pushing rivers, streams and ponds back into their banks.

Inches of rain from Thursday and Friday has caused major issues in and around the St. Marys area.

Rain finally concluded just before noon Friday and with it have come a multitude of issues that county and city officials are dealing with. This story will be updated throughout the day as more information becomes available. 

According to the Auglaize County Emergency Management Agency’s Facebook page, as much as 4 inches of rain fell in areas of Auglaize County since Wednesday, causing rivers to flood and closing multiple roads in the area. The failure of an aqueduct north of St. Marys, along state Route 66, has closed the route at U.S. 33. Crews are hoping to have the road reopened around 4 p.m. but said it may take longer to make sure the road is safe. Residents are urged to avoid driving through flooded roadways where they could become stranded on the road. Coming out of St. Marys, drivers can only go east or west on 33, but north of 33 on state Route 66 is closed.

Flood waters have also wreaked havoc on private property and community celebrations.

The city of St. Marys cancelled its Arbor Day celebration and because the flooding closed schools for the day as it made driving unsafe in multiple locations and rendered city officials occupied. Safety and Services Director Greg Foxhoven said water has entered some of the city offices at 101 E. Spring St., prompting officials to raise their floodgates and sandbag doors downtown.

“We have significant flooding across St. Marys,” Foxhoven said. “General services and the water department has been out monitoring conditions since last night, sandbagging problem areas, putting out pumps, that sort of thing. If any residents need sandbags, they can contact general services to get sandbags. 

“This is a significant event. I think the last time we had a flood — I know we’ve had a few smaller ones but — the last time we had one of this significance was probably 2011.”

St. Marys Police Chief Jake Sutton, who was out monitoring flood levels in the city’s industrial district, said the police department’s cameras were showing most of Memorial Park under water.

“You could go from the river to the canal and not touch dry land right now,” Sutton said. “I’ve only seen that a couple times in my 20 years with the police department.”

Area softball and baseball games has been cancelled and the Wildflower Hike at Kuffner Nature Preserve has been cancelled because of excessvie rain. 

The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood warning for Northwestern Auglaize County because of a breach at the aqueduct. Locations that are flooding include state Route 116 and state Route 197.

Thursday evening, St. Marys General Services Department said the following roads are closed because of flooding: South Street, Augustus Street and High Street. Safety services advised residents to stay away from these areas to avoid being stranded on flooded roadways. As of 12:17 p.m., St. Marys Police closed Greenville Road from Main Street to Wayne Street.

"Our workforce did an incredible job with the hand Mother Nature dealt them last night," Foxhoven said.

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