Severe storms trigger '100-year flood' in Cleveland, Ohio

Severe storms trigger '100-year flood' in Cleveland, Ohio

Heavy overnight storms in Ohio, U.S. triggered a major flood in Cleveland on Sunday, March 29, 2020. According to the National Weather Service (NSW), the Cuyahoga River reached 6.6 m (21.6 feet), which is considered to be a major flood and also its seventh-highest level on record. Several people had to be rescued in some areas; roads and streets were closed, and a few utility customers remained without power until Monday morning, March 30.

Widespread inundations had resulted in a number of rescues in the area. One man in the city's East Side was saved from the basement of his apartment after the water levels reached as high as his chest.

Fire Chief Angelo Calvillo said the crew had to break a window by bending steel bars to save the man. One of the firemen was injured during the rescue operation. 

Another officer and sergeant were taken to the hospital after being exposed to cold waters for aiding civilians.

In downtown Cleveland, the Cuyahoga River's water levels hit 6.6 m (21.6 feet), which was its seventh-highest ever. According to NWS, it is also considered a 1 percent flood, also known as a 100-year flood. 

According to USGS, "The term '100-year flood' is used in an attempt to simplify the definition of a flood that statistically has a 1-percent chance of occurring in any given year."

"Likewise, the term '100-year storm' is used to define a rainfall event that statistically has this same 1-percent chance of occurring."

NWS also said that anything above 5.2 m (17 feet) is considered a major flood. The highest crest level at the river gauge is 7.1 m (23.2 feet).

Inundations were reported as well in the Cleveland Metroparks' Rocky River Reservation along the river, with raging waters blocking several roads. Cedar Avenue and Stokes Boulevard, along with other streets and intersections, were closed Sunday morning.

Meanwhile, roughly 400 utility customers remained without electricity early Monday, March 30, following the severe weather. Most outages were reported in Cuyahoga and Lorain counties. Power is expected to be restored Monday noon.

Featured image credit: NWS Cleveland


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