River flooding worst since ’03

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The Mahoning River at Leavittsburg suffered its worst flooding since 2003 after Wednesday’s storms.

Water levels in Leavittsburg were recorded at 16.1 feet at 3 p.m. which is about 6 feet above flood stage.

Evacuations started in the areas of Meadowbrook Drive, Lovers Lane and North Leavitt Road around 1 p.m. Thursday. Several people had to be rescued by boat from their homes after becoming trapped by the rising water.

“I mean most of the people will not evacuate because they are used to it, and they say we will just wait it out until the water starts coming in the front door. They won’t leave,” said Warren Township Fire Chief Ken Schick.

Teresa Clifford Knight did leave, but lost everything in the flood waters.

“The water is still rising and I got my kids out,” said Knight. “You work so hard to get what you have only to have it taken in a matter of hours.”

Working hand in hand, families took what they could and left once the water got too high.

For Marcus Boyd, 8, whose house had water up to the front door, this wasn’t the birthday he had imagined.

“I wanted the best birthday ever and it went to a dump,” said Boyd.

Despite celebrating an unconventional way for his birthday, Marcus said he’s happy his family is okay.

Heather Ann Gregory said she is happy to see her family safe. She doesn’t live in Leavittsburg anymore, but came back to help.

“I had to come back to support my little one. I had to get her out of it and get all her toys and everything else put up for her. Make sure we got her dog out and her chicks,” said Gregory.

About 14  boats were used to evacuate nearly thirty homes throughout Thursday.

North Leavitt Road between Market Street and Dorothy Avenue is closed because of the flood waters.

The current level is the fifth worst flooding in recorded history. The worst flooding in history was 24 feet in March 1913.

The dam at Lake Milton could still pose a threat to the area.

“They’ve assured us that if they start to let water out, they’ll call us and let us know ahead of time,” said Chief Schick.

Several roads in downtown Warren were also closed from flooding. Mayor Doug Franklin toured the high water areas and said the city has been responding to people who need help cleaning up in the neighborhoods.

“It’s been all hands on deck as far as the city is concerned,” said Franklin. “They have done a Yeoman’s job in getting out and responding to this unusual rain event.”

Perkins Park also is closed and on Thursday, it looked like more like a lake than a park.

Julian Marshall and Bryson Kilpatrick are working for the city this summer and are not looking forward to the cleanup.

“I had never seen anything like this. This doesn’t even look like a park anymore,” Marshall said.

“The playground that we always come to to play football, play catch, when we are on lunch break, everything is under water now,” Kilpatrick said.

Franklin said in the past when the water levels rose at the park, people tried to use it for swimming and fishing. He said officials will be keeping everyone out of the park.

Because of the flooding, Thursday’s 7 p.m. concert by County Mayo being put on by the Fine Arts Council at the Warren Community Ampitheatre has been moved  to Warren’s Courthouse Square.  Organizers for the RiverRock concert this weekend said they are confident the water will recede before Saturday’s event.

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