Unexpected flood brings chaos to Findlay

By John Seewer The Associated Press

FINDLAY – Peeking into her waterlogged basement, Gail Leatherman didn’t break down until she saw a soggy photo of her and her husband, taken for their 17th wedding anniversary.

She salvaged the picture, but not her treasured Christmas decorations. Next door, her son lost all of his 1-year-old boy’s winter clothes.

And that wasn’t the worst of it.

“A year ago, our insurer told us we could drop our flood insurance,” she said. “So we did.”

Water from the worst flood in nearly a century in this northwest Ohio city began receding yesterday, as it did elsewhere in the Midwest, allowing some of the more than 1,000 homeowners who had been displaced to get a look at the soaked photo albums, boxes of clothes and furniture in their basements.

With the flooding and more storms moving through, the death toll across the Upper Midwest and from the remnants of Tropical Storm Erin that swept Texas, Oklahoma and Missouri over the past week also rose to at least 26. In one Ohio county alone, the tally of damaged homes was more than 700.

The weather wasn’t through with the region, however, as funnel clouds were spotted in the suburbs west of Chicago and storms lashed Iowa and Minnesota.

In Oklahoma City, authorities searched a muddy, swollen lake for a 17-year-old caught in a current Wednesday when he and other members of his high school cross-country team tried to swim across a flooded trail.

Storms rattled and soaked northern and west-central Illinois, knocking down trees and damaging buildings and adding to the rising water in several rivers, which crews rushed to sandbag.