Blanchard River at Ottawa prediction
Blanchard River at Ottawa prediction

PUTNAM COUNTY — Minor flooding is predicted to take place this weekend and extend into early next week. According to the Advanced Hydrologic Prediction provided by the National Weather Service, the Blanchard River at Ottawa is expected to reach the action stage above 20-feet on Saturday, Jan. 11, and the minor flood stage above 23-feet on Sunday. The Blanchard at Ottawa is predicted to crest at 24.9-feet before slowly receding through Tuesday, Jan. 14.

The Ottawa River near Kalida is similarly predicted to reach its action stage of 16-feet on Saturday, and the minor flood stage of 19-feet on Sunday. It should crest around 19.3-feet on Sunday as well before beginning to recede.

The Auglaize River at Fort Jennings is also predicted to reach its action stage of 11-feet on Saturday, and its minor flood stage of 13-feet on Sunday. The Auglaize at Ft. Jennings should crest at 15-feet on Sunday and slowly recede through next Tuesday.

Findlay may experience moderate flooding as the Blanchard River at Findlay is predicted to reach its action stage of eight-feet on Saturday, its minor flood stage of 11-feet late Saturday evening or early Sunday morning, and the moderate flood stage by noon on Sunday. The Blanchard River at Findlay is predicted to crest at 12.5-feet late Sunday, dropping below the minor flood stage by noon on Monday.

“Just don’t drive through the flooded water,” Putnam County Sheriff Brian Siefker says when speaking about the predicted flooding during a phone conversation midday on Friday, Jan. 10.

“Please do not drive through the flooded water,” he emphasizes. “Even though it does not look that deep, if the road is closed, do not drive through flooded water. We’ve had to do several rescues because people drove through flooded water.”

This advice is often given when floodwaters are predicted to rise, and as Sheriff Siefker stated, his office and others in the area have had to rescue those who ignore the advice. With this in mind, he is then asked what people should do if they find themselves trapped in floodwaters.

“I advise them to call our office right away,” Sheriff Siefker answers. “If their vehicle gets stranded, we’ll get a tow-truck out there, and get it recovered from the high water. You really don’t want the vehicle sitting in high water.”

“Let us know right away. That way, we know they’re safe,” he says, adding that doing so helps keep law enforcement and other emergency responders safe as well. “If we see a vehicle, and not knowing that somebody is or is not in there, we’ll take that chance and try to rescue that person. But, if they’re already out of that vehicle, it’s nice to know that. Gives us a heads up.”

The Sheriff’s Office prepares for potential flooding by organizing coverage so there is always at least one deputy on both sides of the river. Deputies will also move the dive boat, scuba gear, and other water rescue equipment from where it is stored at the fairground’s complex in Ottawa to the Sheriff’s Office, and prepare that equipment for potential use.

As a final thought, Sheriff Siefker again encourages everyone to, “Just take the extra time, go around, and be safe.”

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Blanchard River at Ottawa prediction: https://water.weather.gov/ahps2/hydrograph.php?wfo=iwx&gage=otto1

Ottawa River near Kalida prediction: https://water.weather.gov/ahps2/hydrograph.php?wfo=iwx&gage=kalo1

Auglaize River at Fort Jennings prediction: https://water.weather.gov/ahps2/hydrograph.php?wfo=iwx&gage=ftjo1

Blanchard River at Findlay prediction: https://water.weather.gov/ahps2/hydrograph.php?wfo=cle&gage=fdyo1