Basements flooded and sections of roadways disappeared beneath as much as 2 or more feet of gushing water across Trumbull County as a large thunderstorm lashed the area Wednesday afternoon.
Jeff Myers, 61, 786 Henn Hyde Road, Howland, said he could see 4 feet of water pooling in the S-curve of his street – which attracted a couple in a kayak – while his basement was filled with 6 inches of water.
All over the county, cars stalled in flash floods. In Braceville and Newton Falls, people waited atop their vehicles for rescue, police said.
One car in Fowler Township was struck by lightning and caught fire, according to a dispatcher.
In Warren, a Weathersfield police officer transporting two prisoners to the Trumbull County Jail did not realize how high the water rose on Pine Avenue S.E. The cruiser stalled in deep water near Burton Street S.E.
A police officer had to wait for others to pick up his prisoners and then for a wrecker to tow his vehicle from the water, according to Warren Safety Service Director Enzo Cantalamessa.
A barn on state Route 160 in North Beaver Township, Pa., was hit by a reported tornado. Barn owner Ryan Werner told Tribune Chronicle newspartner WYTV 33 News, “I watched it from up the hill here. You could see it. It was on the ground. It was moving,” Werner said.
“You could see the funnel cloud touch down and by the time I get less than a quarter of a mile up the road up here, I could see it was on the ground and I turned around and went back south, and it was a matter of 5 minutes, and I come back through here and everything was gone.”
Warren City Councilman Greg Bartholomew, D-4th Ward, said he watched helplessly as water rushed into the basement of his business, All American Cards and Comics, 161 W. Market St.
“It was a literal waterfall,” Bartholomew said. “The water was coming from the back alley and through the walls. We measured the water being between 29 to 30 inches high in a 2,800-square-foot basement.
“I was able to borrow a second sump pump from a friend,” he said “We’re estimating with both pumps working simultaneously it will take between 10 to 12 hours to get all of this water out. We’re estimating I have between 50,000 to 60,000 gallons of water in my basement.”
Bartholomew said he experienced serious flooding about seven years ago.
“At that time, we had a lot of furniture in the basement,” he said. “We learned from it. Now we only keep tables.”
Back in Howland, Myers said the water was too much for his sump pump to handle, and the downpour was too much for the storm water pipes at the end of the road to handle.
“Water is bubbling up out of the storm water pipes under the edge of the road,” he said Wednesday evening.
This is the third time in the last three years that the flooding has been this bad, he said.
“This never happened until they put the allotment in,” he said, referring to the Kingston Commons development across the street from his house.
Myers said the allotment essentially creates a dam that doesn’t allow water to flow toward Mosquito Creek. He said he has spoken with township officials as recently as the Fourth of July who promised to look into the issue.
Darlene St. George, township administrator, said officials are working on a culvert replacement project to alleviate flooding in some areas. In particular, she said they are addressing water coming off Henn Hyde and around Rolling Meadows.
“The ground is so saturated right now, the water’s not going to diminish as quickly as we’d want it to,” she said.
Myers said one of the trustees agreed on Wednesday to walk through the property with him to see what they can do.
The Howland man wasn’t alone in his frustrations; residents across the county flooded phone lines to police stations reporting water in the streets and in their homes.
Trumbull County 911 reported receiving 367 total calls between 4 p.m. and 9:45 p.m. Of those, 101 were fire-related.
At Wednesday’s Warren City Council meeting, Mayor Doug Franklin told residents that crews from the city’s water, wastewater, operations and fire departments were all out working to alleviate resident concerns.
“All sides of the city were hit pretty hard,” Franklin said. “All sides of the city hit pretty hard. This was an extreme rain event.”
Then he found out that his own residence took in 2 to 3 feet of water.
“Between the time I went home and our city council meeting, my wife and I were bailing out water from out basement,” Franklin said. “We had to put our washer and dryer on blocks to keep them out of the water. We bought a small sump pump. We still do not know how our furnace and hot water tank will come out of this.”
The Vugrincic family of Roselawn Avenue in Warren had a tree fall on their home, damaging a computer room.
Allie Vugrincic said although family members had a few minor scrapes and bruises, no one was seriously hurt.
”The tree came out by its roots and fell into the house,” she said.
Patrick Vrontos was at a Speedway gas station at 6 p.m. when he heard a roar of wind passing by.
“It was the weirdest thing I’ve heard and felt since the storm in ’85,” he said.
In Niles, several residents of Wade Avenue, along with nearby Helen and Wilson avenues and John Street, had sewer water in the basements.
Andrea Altiere of Wade Avenue said she and neighbors had sewer water in their basements. She said this is the fifth time in 10 years that it has happened.
”There was so much sewer water coming in that it blew the shut-off valve. It’s horrible. It would be bad enough if it was just storm water but this is sewer water. It stinks and is messy and shouldn’t happen. We are tired of this,” she said.
Altiere said she believes the sewers need to be cleaned out more and not just when there is a heavy storm.
In addition to the flooded roads, streets and basements, there were downed trees and power lines and power outages. More than 3,400 customers in Trumbull County and 350 in Mahoning County were without power.
Many yards flooded throughout Bristol and Champion looked like small lakes.
911 scanner traffic included numerous calls of motorists trapped in vehicles including a report of one man on top of his vehicle in Warren.
A tree had fallen onto the garage of a home in the 6800 block of State Route 5 in Champion near Willow Lake. Fallen trees took down power lines along U.S. Route 422 in Southington, and on Freeman Street in Warren, among other places. In Brookfield, several calls on flooding and downed wires were made for Warner Road and at King Graves and state Route 7. A tree fall on the road near Warren Family Mission’s Hannah’s House in Vienna.
Heavy flooding was reported near North Park Ave and Monroe in Warren, as well as on Mahoning Avenue near the Trumbull County Red Cross. Champion, Bristol and Warren Township also had several calls on flooded basements.