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(Toledo News Now) -
With the welcome spring thaw that is sure to come, the fears of flood waters are also on the rise for communities that sit near the region's many rivers.
Flooding has had devastating impacts on many communities, but second-to-none is the community of Findlay.
Brian Snyder said his families' business, Snyder Auto Mart, has withstood nearly 39 years at their location just two blocks from the Blanchard River, but has frequently been swallowed up by high waters.
"We are probably the second place in the city of Findlay that's going to get water," Snyder said.
Hancock County EMA Director Lee Swisher maintains he is ready to react quickly if flooding were to occur this spring.
"As a city or a county, put out some kind of evacuation, that we are noticing these areas are going to be affected, to have the public honor that," Swisher said. "That is the biggest thing that I think happens."
He added that when residents feel they need to stay with their homes and refuse to evacuate, it causes more problems and danger, including for rescuers trying to get to them.
Flooding is most common in spring, when several factors occur at once.
The main things the StormTrack Weather Team monitors are winter snow cover, ice thickness on rivers, current stream flow, and the potential for heavy rains.
This season is about 10 inches below the seasonal snowfall average for the area. With no thick snow pack on the ground, the risk of a rapid spring melt and flooding goes down.
Additionally, the lack of prolonged cold weather has not significantly clogged the rivers with thick ice, which would allow spring rains a quicker and unobstructed flow and drainage. Ice jams can be a big factor in spring flooding.
Lower than normal stream flow this winter and abnormally dry conditions that still persist from last year's drought further lean toward a lower risk of flooding.
The big variable, however, is heavy spring rains, which typically begin in March. This threat remains real and is the highest possible cause for a spring flooding event.
As for Snyder, the outlook of a lower-than-average flood risk makes him hopeful, but still very cautious.
"We're not going anywhere," he said. "We just need to be aware of the river levels and what the water is going to do."