Storms batter county


Many Darke County residents awoke Tuesday morning to see flooded roads, driveways and fields following the severe thunderstorm that passed through overnight. Many area roads were closed due to high water.

DARKE COUNTY — A major thunderstorm rocked Western Ohio late Monday evening, bringing strong winds, lightning and torrential rain.

A tornado warning was briefly issued by the National Weather Service (NWS) for southeast Darke County and southwest Miami County.

Area fire departments, road crews and law enforcement agencies were kept busy throughout the night and into the morning responding to reports of downed wires, trees in roadways and vehicles stuck in high water.

The Darke County Sheriff’s Office reported that its dispatch and business phone lines were temporarily out of service, but the lines were restored at approximately 10 a.m. The storm did not affect 9-1-1 emergency service.

Dayton Power & Light reported almost 200 outages in Darke County as of 9 a.m. Tuesday morning.

A number of county roads were closed due to high water.

As of 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, the following roads remained closed either in part or in their entirety: Beamsville-Union City Road, Zumbrum Road, Coletown-Lightsville Road, Ellis Road, Ohio-Indiana State Line Road, and Horatio-Harris Creek Road, among others.

Darke County Highway Superintendent Shane Coby said county crews had been extremely busy from midnight into the morning, clearing downed trees and monitoring road conditions.

“In the 18 years I’ve been here, I’ve never seen so many roads with high water,” he said.

Darke County Engineer Jim Surber reported that the county crews had also spent the morning repairing washed-out road shoulders and inspecting bridges.

“So far we’ve not seen any structural damage to bridges,” he said, adding that the department had used every single one of its “Road Closed” and “High Water” signs, with some unsafe roadways still remaining unmarked.

“Use extreme caution,” he urged commuters. “Do not attempt to drive through it.”

Local crops have taken a hit from the rain, according to Sam Custer of Ohio State’s Darke County Extension.

Custer said that areas of the county north of U.S. Route 36 received 5.1 inches of rain from noon Monday to the cessation of rain Tuesday, and noted that the new high for the county is 6.25 inches on Detling Road, west of Ansonia off of State Route 47.

“It’s not good,” he said.

Custer said that wheat was especially endangered at this point, calling it “disaster level.”

“Any wheat still left in the fields probably cannot be sold as a food-grade product,” he remarked. “It will probably have to be sold as feed, easily cutting that farmer’s revenue in half.”

According to information at the local water plant, Greenville received 4.25 inches of rainfall during the storm.

The NWS predicted another series of thunderstorms to hit the area Tuesday afternoon and evening. The entire Miami Valley was placed under a Flash Flood Watch through the remainder of the day.