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Rain, snowmelt floods area roads

Staff photo / R. Michael Semple
Road closed signs were posted on Pine Avenue SE in Warren between Fulton and Burton streets on Thursday after the road flooded because of snowmelt and rain that fell throughout the day. The vehicle on the left stalled in high water while the larger vehicle on the right, driven by Ryan Brdek of Mineral Ridge, moves slowly through the standing water heading south toward Weathersfield.

Heavy snowfall that blanketed the Mahoning Valley earlier this month began melting Wednesday and Thursday as temperatures in the area reached into the 50s.

The snowmelt, in addition to heavy rainfall Thursday, has led to flooding in some areas, leading to several road closures. AAA officials are advising if a road is closed because of flooding, the best advice is to find another way.

James Garrity, a spokesman for AAA East Central, said, “Once you can no longer see the road pavement, you should turn around and find an alternate route.”

He said motorists can’t tell what is below the high water that is causing it not to drain.

“There could be damage to the road or potholes that could damage your car. We always advise people to not put themselves or their families in danger whenever there is high water on a road,” Garrity said,

He said when heavy snow melts, damage often has been done to the road underneath, such as potholes or broken surfaces.

“When this is covered by water, people cannot see the damage underneath. You do not know how deep the water may be or what has caused the water to remain on the road. We would advise anyone to play it safe and don’t put yourself in any danger,” Garrity said.

He said if residents are concerned about roads in their neighborhoods, they can contact their local officials to see if they are safe for travel or if something can be done to make them safer.

Garrity said high water can cause significant damage because it gets underneath the vehicle, so to avoid costly repairs, motorists should stay away from any high-water areas. Officials said damage from a vehicle that stalls in water includes flooding the engine, warping brake rotors, loss of power steering and a short in electrical components. Officials said if a vehicle does stall in a flooded area, do not remain in the car and seek higher ground.

Flood waters can elevate quickly, sweeping away the vehicle and its occupants.

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