Sunday, March 9 2014 10:54 PM EDT2014-03-10 02:54:31 GMT
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FINDLAY, OH (Toledo News Now) -
Local officials have begun to account for the damage caused by last weekend's flooding, but early estimates show it doesn't appear to be as bad as previous years.
The Blanchard River crested a few days ago. Now that the holidays are over, area officials are beginning to learn the property damage caused by high water. The weekend flood pushed the river to its 11th highest flood level, but property damage appears to be less than predicted.
"I'm seeing a few areas that removed some carpeting and drywall and that type of thing. Right now, the damage seems relatively light," said Todd Richard, a Findlay zoning and flood plain administrator.
Richard says Findlay residents and businesses have experienced flooding so often, they know exactly what to do when the time comes.
"We have a very good early warning system. They know exactly when to take action based on those readings. Many of them are getting sand bags ready, they're getting inventory up in a higher spot," explained Richard.
Also, recent flood mitigation projects have limited the amount of property for flood waters to damage.
"We've had a lot of demolition over the years. We've had a number of structures elevated. And all of those things add up to less damage, less interruption," said Richard.
Hancock County's EMA office will begin assessments Friday.
The city of Findlay Engineering Department estimates about 100 residents will file flood damage claims. Now, another organization is helping residents clean up the mess left behind.
On Thursday, the Hancock County Red Cross handed out free clean-up kits to residents whose houses took on flood water, to prevent health hazards. The kits included a bucket, gloves, disinfectant, detergents, bleach, sponges and a mops. Almost everyone who took a kit only had water in their basements, but officials want to make sure homeowners know that even in underutilized spaces, river water residue could carry harmful pathogens, bacteria and mold.
"It is important to disinfect and get your basement clean, because you never know what's in those flood waters, and you don't want that debris sitting around in your basement, or if you're unfortunate, to have it in your living spaces. The quicker you can get it out, the better," said Ron Rooker, Hancock County Disaster program manager.
On top of cleaning, homeowners should have their gas appliances inspected before relighting their pilot lights, plus have their well water tested.