Water levels behind dams projected to crest next week

March 19, 2008

Emergency officials were busy Wednesday morning (March 19) notifying residents and businesses about rising water levels in northern Tuscarawas County.

Early projections showed that floodwaters will crest sometime next week behind Beach City, Bolivar and Dover dams. By late Wednesday or Thursday (March 20), officials expect the village of Zoarville will be isolated for traffic and the I-77 interchange at Rt. 212 at Wilkshire Hills will close.

Officials stressed that the Wilkshire Hills region is not expected to be isolated during the event and that Rt. 800 north of Mineral City also is expected to remain open through the crests.

Tuscarawas County Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency (HS/EMA) officials were sending Reverse 911 telephone messages to residents and businesses in the village of Zoarville to inform them that the village will be isolated by Thursday (March 20). However, firefighters in the area have established a vehicle parking lot and walking path into the village of Tusky Valley Rd. near the railroad tracks. Firefighters encourage residents to move their vehicles to the parking area and use the walking path.

A Reverse 911 telephone message also was sent to residents and businesses in the Wilkshire Hills region to inform them that the region is expected to have access through the crests.

Trustees in Fairfield, Lawrence and Sandy townships have been monitoring roads for safety and access. An emergency connection between North Orchard Rd. (Tuscarawas County Rd. 103) and Glen Park Dr. (Lawrence Township Rd. 617) over Bolivar Dam to Gracemont and Sherman Church Rds. has opened. Trustees said they will maintain the connection road as needed.

Patty Levengood, director of the Tuscarawas County HS/EMA, announced that her office would open the county's Emergency Operations Center (EOC) at 1 p.m. Wednesday to assist officials and residents with information and other needs. The EOC will remain open 24 hours a day until the situation has improved. The EOC can be contacted at (330) 308-6655.

Downstream, increased water levels on the Tuscarawas River prompted New Philadelphia firefighters to issue door-to-door flood warning information to residents along 4th St. Ext. SE and Dogwood Ln. SE.

Road closing information is available by calling the Tuscarawas County HS/EMA Emergency Information Line at (330) 339-7838. Road closings also have been posted on the county sheriff's website at www.co.tuscarawas.oh.us/sheriff and other information will be posted as needed on the HS/EMA website at www.co.tuscarawas.oh.us/EMA.

Officials said updated information on water levels behind the area dams are available online by visiting the USACE website at www.lrh-wc.usace.army.mil/wc/musns.htm or by using a link to that website off www.mwcdlakes.com.

Residents in the Michael Ln. area near Zoar were expected to be isolated by overnight Tuesday (March 18) from the rising floodwaters behind Dover Dam.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officials said total rainfall overnight Tuesday was around 1 inch in the Bolivar area and less than an inch in the Stark County area, adding to the swollen reservoirs behind Atwood, Beach City, Bolivar and Atwood dams.

The USACE operates the flood-reduction dams in the Muskingum River Watershed, including Dover, Bolivar, Beach City and Atwood dams.

Levengood said residents will be notified of any potential isolation issues through the county's Reverse 911 communication system, in which telephone calls are placed to individual residences, businesses and other locations with official information and warnings.

Darrin Lautenschleger
Public Information Administrator
Toll-free: (877) 363-8500


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