Storms produce flooding rain, tornado warnings in county

LISBON – Two storms surging through Columbiana County and the area Tuesday evening produced damage and flooding across the southwest portion of the county.

Two tornado warnings, a multitude of thunderstorm warnings and a flood advisory were all issued in the county throughout the evening. The National Weather Service had estimated between one and two inches of rain fell throughout the evening, and forecasters were calling for yet one more storm after 9 p.m. That storm was projected to bring another possible half inch of rain.

Some areas of the county did not need another dousing of rain. Areas in Summitville and Salineville were experiencing some heavy flooding later in the evening, keeping fire crews and families busy pumping out basements.

Columbiana County Emergency Management Agency Director Luke Newbold said he was happy with the cooperation between the EMA, local officials, the county sheriff’s department and the National Weather Service. Sirens were sounded in many of the communities warning residents of the possibility of tornados. Newbold said in the future he would like to see the county seek grants for additional sirens in rural areas.

The storms brought not only reports of potential tornados, but heavy rain and even hail in the Lisbon area. Following the storms came flooding, like in Summitville where creeks became rivers.

Fink Road was underwater with twisted down power lines running along the edge. The small pond in the yard of J.T. Higgins, a Fink Road resident, had turned into a flowing stream, which was heading across his driveway, under a fence and creating its own path into a roaring stream.

In fields at several area farms, including at Summitcrest Farms, small creeks were overflowing their banks and widening.

Flooding was also reported by Newbold on Foundry Hill Road south of state Route 518. Newbold described the area as a 500-foot river flowing over the road.

Newbold also reported on Lewis Road near Summitville, sheriff’s deputies had relayed to him there was a car was trapped in high flood waters. It was later pulled out by local firefighters.

In Salineville, Kathy Forbes and her husband own two buildings side by side off of Washington Street. Salineville and Highlandtown firefighters were pumping water from her backyards, which both resembled two small lakes.

“It was an incredibly hard rain,” Forbes said.

Forbes said one of her buildings was an antique shop and the other serves as both her home and beauty shop. She was checking on her grandchildren at their home during the storm, when she learned of the flooding back at her places. Before firefighters arrived, Forbes said they tried with buckets to keep water out of the basement of the antique shop, where they recently installed a new furnace.

But while they were concentrating on that building, next door, water began rising out of the toilet, pouring down the registers and into the furnace. The creek behind the yards was continuing to rise even while crews worked to pump the water out of the yards. Forbes said it has been 10 years since she has seen the water rise this way, although it did it often in the 1980s.

Another neighbor and relative, Laura Forbes said when the rain happened the water built up on the hill near the ballfields and then came pouring down High Street into the backyards. A drain on one side of a trailer took some of the water away, but left a lot behind.

That area of town was not the only with concerns following the storms. Lines were taken down during the storms and neighbors were out checking the rising creeks.

The village sewer plant had too much water running through it and reportedly had to be shut down, according to Fire Chief Jeff Lewis.

On state Route 644 near Kensington, where pipelines have recently been added for the new natural gas plant under construction, there were several places where high water had risen and deposited gravel across the roadway before the water receded.

Besides flooding issues, wind was also a concern. Township crews and families were out helping each other clear trees blocking roadways and driveways. In some cases trees appeared twisted, but Newbold cautions any suspected tornados will have to be confirmed by the National Weather Service. Newbold said both storms showed rotation on radar.

Winds also ripped all the blades off cornstalks in one field south of Summitville.

Newbold reported a lot of damage in the Liverpool Township area as well, including a driver who reportedly struck a tree on Dewey Avenue. The man was transported to East Liverpool City Hospital and was reportedly in stable condition.

Carroll County, less than a mile from the county line, winds tore the roof off one barn at property belonging to Lionel Trebelcock on Apollo Road. Carroll County EMA director Tom Cottis pointed out the silos right next to it did not appear touched, yet the roof of the low lying cattle barn was lifted and carried across a large portion of yard and distributed on both sides of the road near the home.

Two-by-four boards where embedded into the ground like they had been drilled in. A tree fell next to the house and a piece of the barn roof appeared to have grazed the top of the house roof and landed in the driveway.

Looking at clues as to whether the National Weather Service may declare a tornado, Cottis pointed out the wind was blowing one direction, but the barn roof appears to have flown off in the opposite direction. However, soybean fields which would normally show a circular damage pattern from a tornado did not.

Newbold said the American Red Cross has been asked to be on standby in case a county resident’s home is damaged by the storms or flood waters and they need a place to go. He also asked residents to quickly report any damage to their local trustees or officials so the damage can be assessed. Once he receives reports from local officials, Newbold can begin the process of turning in damage estimates to the state to see if the county would qualify for any assistance in making damage repairs.

Finally, he reminds residents to not to drive into flooded areas and to report all downed power lines immediately.