Severe storm floods streets

A fast-hitting, severe thunderstorm Tuesday afternoon renewed flooding, downed trees and wires and wreaked havoc again on areas still trying to dry out from floods two weeks ago.

Numerous calls about flooded yards and basements and cars stuck on streets in high water were reported throughout Howland, Niles and Warren. Severe flooding left standing water along the Tibbetts Wick Road area in Girard.

Almost 2 inches of rain were dumped on the heaviest-hit areas in less than a half hour, WYTV 33 News meteorologist Paul Wetzel said. Doppler radar showed the hardest hit areas were southeast of Warren, including much of Niles.

”It was such a heavy rainfall in such a short period of time that caused the flooding. The rain was so intense and fell very quickly,” Wetzel said, noting there was a lot of flooding in urban areas.

The National Weather Service issued a severe thunderstorm warning shortly before 4 p.m. Tuesday. About 4 p.m., rain began, accompanied by hail, heavy winds and lightning.

On July 10, nearly 4 inches of rain fell during the day, flooding streets and basements under several feet of water, and causing one neighborhood in Leavittsburg along the Mahoning River to be evacuated.

On Tuesday, Pat Meszaros of Shaw Road in Niles said her entire yard – which includes a pond surrounded by cement – was under water from the driveway leading from her garage to state Route 46. A portion of the driveway had also collapsed, she said.

”It was horrible. There was so much water, you couldn’t see the driveway or any green from my house to Route 46. I’ve never had this much water in years,” she said.

Meszaros said at one point the water was coming down Shaw Road like ”rapids.”

”It was looked like a mammoth river coming down the street,” she said.

Residents along Gypsy Lane in Niles watched as a retention pond behind the neighborhood overflowed, spilling water down the street and into lawns.

Rosemary Connelly said this isn’t the first time the pond has caused problems.

“When we get a lot of rain, it overflows,” Connelly said. “We actually had our own little family of mallards out here in our yard.”

Connelly’s husband, Larry, said the overflowing water isn’t just an inconvenience, but also a health hazard.

“Kids see water like that and they want to go out and play in it,” Larry Connelly said. “We don’t know what’s in that water.”

The Mueller Family Practice building on Route 46 in Niles was flooded and suffered damage when water from the heavy rains rushed from the Niles City Cemetery across the street.

Fire crews estimated that 4,000 gallons of water washed through the doctor’s office parking lot and into the building. The owner told news crews it is the second time in as many years that the business has been flooded.

Downed wires and tree limbs had also been reported in Trumbull County.

Warren resident Hugh Anderson of Kinsman Road N.W. said he feels fortunate that a 75-foot-long maple tree of 2 to 3 feet in width that fell landed in the middle of nearby Wilson Road. The tree did tear down electric lines and knocked out power to the street with electric crews at the scene late Tuesday working to restore it.

”It just missed my house by a foot. I feel very fortunate it didn’t hit the house,” Anderson said.

He said he is concerned about a second tree that is leaning with its roots showing.

”There is a tree right next to the one that fell. The roots are almost out of the ground. I’m afraid if that tree falls it will hit my house,” Anderson said.

A 911 spokeswoman said the center received numerous calls especially of flooding in the Allenwood area of Howland. Basements and garages were also flooded on Boston Avenue.

A Niles dispatcher also reported many calls from throughout the city of flooding. Reports of flooding included near the new high school complex.

In Warren, the fire department responded to vehicles stuck in the water on Pine Avenue and Highland Avenue at Maple Avenue.

Two tornado warnings were issued for Columbiana County during the storms, according to WYTV-33.

Reporter Ashley Newman contributed to this story.