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With rain in forecast, officials watch for flooding along Vermilion River

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    An ice jam south of Vermilion on Tuesday has safety forces watching as potentially heavy rains are due the next couple of days.

    BRUCE BISHOP / CHRONICLE

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    From left, Vermilion Assistant Chief Dave Coen watches as Mike Hanna of Dronewerx flies a drone over an ice jam along the Vermilion River on Tuesday. Tom Kelley of Homeland Security and Vermilion police Sgt. Gordon Adams were also on the scene as they inspected the exact locations of the ice jams south of town near Mill Hollow.

    BRUCE BISHOP / CHRONICLE

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    Crews break up the ice along the Vermilion River near Quaker Steak and Lube to prevent an ice jam on Sunday morning, February 3 as temperatures climb above 50 degrees.

    KRISTIN BAUER / CHRONICLE

  • 020319-WEATHER-ART-KB02

    Crews break up the ice along the Vermilion River near the Vermilion Boat Club to prevent an ice jam on Sunday morning, February 3 as temperatures climb above 50 degrees.

    KRISTIN BAUER / CHRONICLE

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VERMILION — Ice jams along the Vermilion River could cause flooding as rain moves through the area Thursday.

Tom Kelley, director of the Lorain County Emergency Management Agency, said while the river within the city limits is flowing freely, there are ice jams toward Mill Hollow Park and another solid sheet of ice to the south.

“Everybody’s going to have to keep an eye on those two — the solid sheet ice and the jams that are down towards the park,” he said. If neither break up and move before Thursday, it could cause flooding, he said.

Near the Vermilion Boat Club, crews began working with an excavator Sunday to break up the ice, but that method can’t be used farther downstream, Kelley said.

For now, it’s a waiting game to see if the ice will break up on its own, he said.

The county line runs right through the area in question, he said, with Riverside Drive in Erie County, while some of the campgrounds are in Lorain County. He said should evacuations be necessary, the EMA will assist Vermilion Fire Department in getting people out of their homes safely. Being part of a flood plane, he said many of the homes in that area are built with their living spaces above the garage, minimizing damage when situations like this arise.

“I’ve been down there twice in the last three years that we’ve had evacuations,” he said. “When you live close to the river and ice jams up like that there’s always that possibility.”

Lorain and Erie counties emergency management, as well as Vermilion emergency services will issue text alerts regarding possible flooding.

Contact Carissa Woytach at (440) 329-7245 or cwoytach@chroniclet.com.


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