LIZ ANASTASIADIS, Managing Editor Emeritus —
In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, flooding in Licking County has forced some Newark, Granville, and Heath residents from homes, apartments, and trailers to evacuate.
At 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, March 19 and March 20, the National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning for Licking County due to excessive rainfall amounting to 3.29 inches during those 24 hours. The severe flooding has forced South Main St. to be closed. Traffic is being re-routed through Hebron Road, and The Licking County Sheriff’s office has warned drivers to brace for delays.
“I was near the cresting of the overflowing creek. It was shocking what I saw,” said Dennis Cauchon, a Granville resident who works in the offices above River Road Coffeehouse. “The floodwaters were close to the door of the IGA, where my son works. Two cars in the Middleton parking lot were nearly covered in water,” he continued.
Some affected residencies in Granville Township are the Granville Square Apartments located on West Broadway St. next to Wildwood Park, and surrounding areas.
Denison University and Granville Township are set up barricades around the Village to ease the flooding.
According to the Newark Advocate, members of the community were rescued and escorted to the Indian Mound Mall from Glenwood Condominiums on Licking View Drive, in Heath. The South Fork Licking River flows just south of the condominiums, along Licking View Drive, the only road out.
Indian Mound Mall, mostly empty due to coronavirus-related store closures, became the perfect place to keep flood evacuees a safe distance from each other Friday morning.
“Nobody was injured and I didn’t think anyone would be because this area floods fairly often,” said Cauchon. “The property damage is what’s tough, plus losing access to our only grocery store during the COVID-19 problems.”
Emergency officials rescued Newark and Heath residents from homes, apartments, and trailers, sometimes with boats, and brought them to the mall. The evacuees, many older residents and some in wheelchairs or on oxygen, sat on benches scattered throughout the mall. With coronavirus procedures still in effect, residents stay six to ten feet away from one another.
Some locations that will experience flooding include Newark, Reynoldsburg, Pickerington, Heath, Granville, Pataskala, Canal Winchester, Johnstown, Baltimore, Buckeye Lake, Hebron, Millersport, Hanover, Harbor Hills, Granville South, Marne, Fairfield Beach, Beechwood Trails, Summit Station and Thornport.
Tips to stay safe during flooding from the National Weather Service:
Avoid walking or driving through floodwaters.
- Just six inches of moving water can knock you down and two feet of water can sweep your vehicle away.
If there’s a chance of flash flooding, move immediately to higher ground.
- Flash floods are the number one cause of weather-related deaths in the US.
Walk only where floodwaters aren’t moving.
- Use a stick to check the depth of the water and firmness of the ground in front of you.
If floodwaters rise around your car but the water is not moving, abandon the car and move to higher ground.
- Just one foot of water can stall your engine and make the car float away.
Avoid camping or parking along streams, rivers, and creeks during heavy rainfall.
- These areas can flood quickly and with little warning.
To report flooding, go to the National Weather Service website at www.weather.gov/iln and submit your report via social media when you can do so safely or call the Granville Police Department at (740) 587-1234.
This is a developing story.