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TV meteorologist Dick Goddard rescued after being trapped in submerged car

TNS Regional News • May 14, 2014 at 11:06 AM

The region woke up to quite a mess Tuesday after severe weather roared through Northeast Ohio on Monday night.

The storm spurred several tornado warnings as funnel clouds, high winds and power outages were reported. No tornadoes were reported. Just lots of rain.

Many roads were damaged by the onslaught and vehicles were submerged under water throughout the area.

Officially, the Akron-Canton Airport got 1.48 inches of rain on Monday. Cleveland Hopkins International Airport got 2.64 inches, most of which fell in a two-hour period, the National Weather Service reported.

The city of Akron reported that as much as 4 inches of rain fell in some spots in the community.

In Akron’s Merriman Valley, many parking lots and roads were mud and gravel covered. Tree limbs were down throughout the valley as residences and businesses cleaned up early today. Several roads were closed as crews cleared debris, mud and water.

At Riverview and Smith roads in North Akron, city Highway Maintenance crews used a backhoe to clear mud and standing water while a white Jeep remained on the now-almost dry road from Monday night.

Workers Jeff May and John Allen said two cars were stranded, including one that was towed earlier this morning. It was full of muck inside, they said.

May said the woman motorist showed workers pictures of her car floating on Riverview Road Monday night. She said she climbed out through sunroof and her boss came to get her.

May said her car “was solid muck.”

Akron spokeswoman Stephanie York said 70 or so homes suffered flooded basements in the city.

To assist residents with flood damage, York said, residents will be allowed to put debris on the curb for pick up. Residents are asked to call 311 from a home phone or 330 375-2311 to schedule the free pickup of the additional trash.

York said the clean up from the storms may set the city back two weeks in its pothole repairs.

Cuyahoga Falls City Hall was closed Tuesday after waist-high water filled its lower level.

The flood water took out the city’s main phone line — although the city’s 911 and non-emergency numbers for police and fire emerged unscathed.

The flood impacted the city’s Information Technology department that had just completed repairs from another flood in February when a water line broke. The flood took out the city’s website.

The city’s jail also flooded and had to be closed.

Cathy Meacham, assistant to Mayor Don Walters, said there were reports of flooded homes and submerged vehicles. The walls to three homes collapsed.

More than a foot of water flooded the lower parts of Crown Granite & Marble on State Road in Cuyahoga Falls.

Owner Fred Balkanloo said damage may be as high as $100,000 and that he had to send most of his 15-person staff home for the day while others helped with cleanup.

He blamed his flooding on long-standing storm water issues in the area.

“The storm sewer, it’s not adequate,” Balkanloo said.

Lower level display cabinets and cabinets awaiting delivery to customers were damaged by flooding and will need to be replaced, he said. Insurance likely will not pay for the damage, he said.

The building will need a thorough cleaning as well, he said.

“Got to make sure mold not involved, got to make sure to clean it up,” Balkanloo said. “It’s so frustrating.”

The basements of two homes in Stow — one on Marhofer Avenue and the other on Greentree Road — collapsed during Monday night’s storm.

“The basements were blown out by the water,” Stow Mayor Sara Drew said Tuesday. “The basement walls caved in but the homes are still standing. Luckily, no one was injured in those.”

The mayor added that the Ron Marhofer car dealership on Darrow Road was also damaged. The dealership, which was open for business Tuesday, declined to comment as staff worked to clean and dry the property.

“It was just an unbelievable storm last night and we have seen a lot of damage and a lot of large debris that needs to get out of the streets immediately,” Drew said.

Bath police reported that a bridge over Yellow Creek on Shaw Road near Granger Road washed away. Bath Road was also closed at Bonnebrook Drive, police said.

In Medina Township, about 15 homes at Weymouth and Granger roads were evacuated late Monday due to high water, said township Police Chief Dave Arbogast.

The water from the Rocky River was 3 to 4 feet deep, he said.

Township fire crews and police went door to door with a boat in the 3800 block of Granger Road to get people out safely, he said.

Two vehicles were buried in water at Interstate 71 and state Route 3 including one driven by Cleveland television meteorologist Dick Goddard, Arbogast said.

He said Goddard drove off the I-71 ramp to state Route 3 and buried his car in high water in a low-lying spot off the ramp.

Crews had to rescue Goddard about 11:20 p.m. along with another motorist, he said.

The two cars were “pretty much totally submerged,” he said.

Arbogast said cars were under water in the 4500 block and trees were downed in the 4300 block of Hamilton Road. Cars were under water at the busy intersection of Fenn and Pearl roads.

Denise Green, who lives on Ledge Road, said the force of the water pushed over the culvert at the end of her driveway.

Green said she is dismayed that neither the township, county nor the Ohio Department of Transportation will help replace the entrance to her driveway that is now standing on its end.


©2014 the Akron Beacon Journal (Akron, Ohio)

Visit the Akron Beacon Journal (Akron, Ohio) at www.ohio.com

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