Rain, waves and wind: What caused Northeast Ohio’s weekend severe weather?


CLEVELAND, Ohio — This weekend, it rained and rained and rained, flooding some Northeast Ohio rivers and pushing Lake Erie onto the shores. A storm system brought widespread rain with an embedded stronger line of storms that induced flooding in Cleveland, and produced a tornado warning in Stark, Portage and Summit counties.

What started the rain?

A strong low-pressure system with its associated front sprawled across Kentucky, southern Ohio, West Virginia and Virginia was the trigger of strong atmospheric instability. When that type of system churns through warm enough air, rain showers can strengthen to thunderstorms. The warmer the air is, the more moisture it can hold which acts as fuel to storms. 

National Weather map Sunday showing the placement of the low-pressure center with its associated front. (NOAA) 

Where was the flooding?

The first flood warning of the evening was issued at 6:22 p.m. for Cuyahoga, Medina, Summit, Stark, Wayne and Holmes counties. The National Weather Service issued the alert once they saw Doppler radar-indicated heavy rain that was enough to cause flooding. One to two inches of rain had already fallen at that point, and additional rainfall amounts were likely range from a half-inch to over an inch in the warned areas.

The heavy rain caused a construction landslide at I-77 in downtown Cleveland, and pockets of flooded roads in University Circle. Monday morning, Police blocked off several stretches of roads, including Cedar Road from East 105th Street to Murray Hill, Stokes from Euclid to Carnegie and East 55th from Bessemer to McBride.

Areas of the Bass Islands are completely inundated as winds over 40 mph spilled water “over seawalls, into streets, businesses and several homes making the passage from the eastern point of South Bass Island into town,” reports Visit Put-In-Bay. 

Almost 2 inches of rain fell at Cleveland Hopkins International airport over the weekend, 2.14 inches at Akron-Canton airport and just 1.21 inches for Youngstown.

What about Lake Erie?

Strong winds created monstrous waves from 13 to 15 feet in Lake Erie over the weekend, which had some surfers grabbing for the wet suits — water temperatures were in the 30s. The waves shut down the Miller Ferry. 

What happened during that tornado warning?

The National Weather Service cannot confirm the tornado warning, issued at 6:29 p.m. Sunday night, until a storm survey team is sent out to evaluate damage. They will likely send one out later today. 

What flood warnings, advisories remain?

As of 8:30 a.m. Monday, the following rivers remain above flood stage:

Current flood warnings

  • Portage River at Woodville 
  • Chagrin River at Willoughby
  • Grand River at Painesville
  • Cuyahoga River at Independence
  • Eagle Creek at Phalanx Station
  • Scioto River near Larue
  • Mahoning River at Leavittsburg
  • Mahoning River at Warren
  • Mahoning River at Youngstown

Residual water from rain overnight will continue to make its way into area waterways and rises on creeks, streams, and rivers are likely, says the weather service. As a result, the following counties are still susceptible to flooding as scattered rain lingers:

Current flood advisories

  • Portage County until 4:15 p.m. Monday
  • Geauga County until 4:15 p.m. Monday
  • Cuyahoga County until 6:15 p.m. Monday
  • Medina County until 6:15 p.m. Monday
  • Stark County until 6:15 p.m. Monday
  • Summit County until 6:15 p.m. Monday
  • Wayne County until 6:15 p.m. Monday
  • Holmes County until 6:15 p.m. Monday
  • Mahoning County until 4:45 p.m. Monday
  • Trumbull County until 4:45 p.m. Monday

Keep checking cleveland.com/weather for daily weather updates for Northeast Ohio, and don’t forget to submit any weather questions you may have!

Kelly Reardon is cleveland.com’s meteorologist. Please follow me on Facebook and Twitter @KellyRWeather.

2018-04-16 13:43:10

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