Rain May Bring More Flooding, After Rescues Last Night in Willoughby Hills

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Fire department officials and residents who didn’t evacuate last night said the water level doubled in a matter of hours. Some people had to be brought out in boats from waist-deep water.

That’s according to the city’s assistant fire chief, Thomas Talcott. He said an ice jam is to blame. Open water upstream pushed chunks of ice downstream, creating a dam that caused the river to rapidly overflow its banks.

Talcott said the warmer weather today has melted some of the snow and ice, but the river’s water level hasn’t gone down.

With the ground already saturated and above-freezing temperatures expected tonight, he's worried about more flooding.

"This is kind of like wringing the sponge out today. So we have water from there, and then we have the potential for additional water in the form of rain, starting tomorrow afternoon going into Saturday," he said.

Willoughby Hills and areas north around the Chagrin River in Lake County should be prepared for quick evacuations if needed, Talcott said.

Fire officials said more than 30 homes along a small bend in the river were affected. This afternoon, many people still had water in their yards, basements and driveways.

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