Upper Arlington News

'Five-year' rain took toll on Upper Arlington streets


Upper Arlington crews last week were forced to do some cleanup work around town the day after thunderstorms caused substantial flooding on local streets.

On Tuesday, June 24, the skies opened up over central Ohio and unleashed enough rain to cause problems from Gahanna to Upper Arlington, north to the city of Delaware and many points in between.

That led to flooding on approximately 30 city streets, according to Upper Arlington Public Services Manager Buddy Caplinger. He said some streets remained closed through 11 p.m. that night.

The following day, Cap-linger's staff returned to work to begin the cleanup effort.

"It was throughout the city and that's just because of the capacity of our (stormwater) systems," Caplinger said of the flooding. "The water can only take so much within the capacities of the pipes.

"That water has to go somewhere. There's now debris we need to clean up."

Caplinger said the flooding was the most significant Upper Arlington has seen in the five years he's worked for the city.

Numerous local roadways -- including Coach, Fishinger, Lane and McCoy roads, Kioka Avenue, Donna Drive and many more -- saw flooding to the point that some parked cars were underwater, he added.

In most cases, city officials said, there was simply too much water to drain off quickly.

In other cases, the Evans and Turkey Run watersheds swelled and overflowed.

"It was just a huge rainfall," said Jackie Thiel, Upper Arlington's interim city engineer. "We got 1.12 inches in 30 minutes (according to the Rainfall Atlas of the Midwest).

"That is equivalent to a five-year rain for a 30-minute duration."

Caplinger said cleanup work on June 25 focused on removing downed tree limbs, litter and other items from city streets.

Most streets were passable by Wednesday morning, he said, and initial assessments did not discover any flooding-related damage to local streets.

Caplinger added that the city received numerous calls regarding rain water seeping into residential basements and other flooding on private properties, but his crews could do little to address those issues.

"It was an act of God," he said. "There was absolutely nothing we could do about it."