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Communities Recovering From Flooding Across Ohio

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A road closure due to flooding in Columbus.

Thousands of Ohioans are spending today cleaning up flood damage.

The National Weather Service reports the Ohio River crested at 60.5 feet on Monday – its highest level in more than two decades. Floodwaters in southwest and central Ohio are beginning to recede.

Gov. John Kasich has declared a state of emergency in 17 counties. And he says in most of those places, preparation by emergency crews prevented more damage.

“The good news is, for a lot of people, not everybody, but for a lot of people, they are either in their homes or they return to their homes and there’s been minimal damage to them,” Kasich said.

But some roads throughout the state remain under water. Weather officials are hoping the next couple of days, which are supposed to be dry, will allow some of the flooded areas to recover.

In Hamilton County, disaster officials are still trying to get a handle of the damage. The Ohio River is predicted to fall below flood stage slowly, but the amount of damage will determine if the county qualifies for state and federal aid.

Emergency management director Nick Crossley says the plan is to report to the state by March 9. If there's enough damage to qualify for federal assistance, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) could send representatives the week of March 12.

"We will follow how long it takes to recede and we'll work with the state (of Ohio) on that date,” Crossley says. “It's really from the end of the event, so they're clarifying the end of the event with FEMA today. Then we have 30 days to complete all the damage assessments including the ones with the federal government."

Crossley is encouraging individuals and communities to document damage as soon as it's safe.

"If it looks like the water will take longer to recede and Cincinnati or anybody cannot safely assess their areas,” Crossley says, “we will go back to the state and say, ‘Here's our issues, we need a few more days to be able to get in there.'"

Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment.
Rinehart has been a radio reporter since 1994 with positions in markets like Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska; Sioux City, Iowa; Dayton, Ohio: and most recently as senior correspondent and anchor for Cincinnati’s WLW-AM.