National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

North Central Ohio Ice Storm - January 5th-6th

For the second time in just over two weeks, a devastating and historic winter storm affected Northern Ohio. Significant ice accumulations occurred over most of the area downing thousands of trees, causing widespread power outages and making travel nearly impossible. Low pressure over Missouri moved rapidly northeast on January 5th, reaching eastern Ohio early on the 6th. It was responsible for producing a prolonged period of freezing rain. The hardest hit locations were west of Interstate 71 along the U.S. Route 30 corridor. Ice accumulations of greater than three quarters of an inch were reported from Hancock County eastward across Wyandot, Crawford, Richland and Ashland Counties. Northern sections of Wyandot and Marion Counties along with the southern halves of Seneca and Huron County were also hard hit. Up to 80 percent of electric customers in these nine counties lost service during the storm, some for as much as ten days. In cities like Mansfield, Bucyrus and Findlay, nearly every property in some neighborhoods sustained tree damage. To the north and south of these areas ice accumulations ranged from one quarter to three quarters of an inch. Counties closer to Lake Erie saw snow mix with the freezing rain at times which kept ice accumulations down to around one quarter inch and resulted in only scattered power outages. A total of 3 to 5 inches of snow was also reported in these counties. Ice build up at the Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Plant (Ottawa County) damaged the facility enough to force it to be temporarily shut down.

Clean up and repair costs for this storm were among the highest ever recorded for a natural disaster in Ohio. Damage in many counties topped $1 million with a couple counties exceeding $10 million in losses. In Richland County alone, clean up cost accrued by local governments totaled nearly $6 million. Estimates indicate that as many as one million people lost power during this storm. Several power companies reported the largest number of outages in their histories. Hundreds if not thousands of homes and businesses were damaged by fallen trees, limbs and utility poles.

(See map for pictures at bottom of page)

Northern Ohio Flooding - January

Heavy rain and runoff from snowmelt caused widespread lowland flooding throughout much of northern Ohio during the first two-thirds of January. January 2005 was among the wettest January's on record. Temperatures in the 50s the first three days of the month caused a rapid snowmelt and brought area streams and creeks to bankfull just in time for the significant winter storm on the 5th and 6th. In addition to the river and lowland flooding, sump pump failures caused by power outages from the ice storm of January 5th and 6th led to hundreds of homes sustaining damage from basement flooding across the area. Then, just as things began to return to normal, heavy rains fell on the area on the 11th, 12th and 13th causing conditions to once again worsen. Many streams and rivers left their banks forcing hundreds of roads to be closed and severely damaging hundreds of homes. The following are just a few examples of areas which were hard hit by flooding.

Reservoirs in Ashland and Richland Counties established record high levels. Swampy areas behind the Charles Mills Dam flooded forcing the closure of U.S. Highway 42 between Ashland and Mansfield for 10 days. Water levels behind the Mohicanville Dam in eastern Ashland County came to within a couple feet of the all-time record, and 8,800 acres behind the dam were flooded. Mohawk Lake in eastern Knox County reached it's highest level ever and was up to 79 feet above normal. In Holmes County, a large landslide occurred along State Route 39 just east of Walnut Creek, and three people had to be rescued near Glenmont after a small bridge over Black Creek collapsed. The Brewster area in Stark County was especially hard hit with at least two people needing to be rescued on January 6th. Flood waters in some parts of the town were as much as 10 feet deep with at least six feet of water at the water treatment plant. Devastating flooding was also reported along the Portage River in Pembervillle in Wood County on the 12th through the 16th. Flood waters in portions of the town were up to 5 feet deep and nearly 20,000 sandbags were used to fight the flooding. Many evacuations occurred here and dozens of homes and businesses were damaged. Significant flooding was also reported in Clyde in Sandusky County on January 11th through the 13th. Flood waters in portions of the city came within 12 inches of exceeding the 100 year flood plain.

January 2005 Rainfall Totals

*---* Indicates rank on list of all time wettest Januaries (Ex. Cleveland had 3rd wettest January ever).

Centerburg (Knox)
9.99 inches
Warren (Trumbull)
Danville (Knox)
Fredericktown (Knox)
Prospect (Marion)
Galion (Crawford)
Greer (Knox)
Chardon (Geauga)
Hiram (Portage)
Marion (Marion)
Louisville (Stark)
Union City (Erie PA)
Bucyrus (Crawford)
Congress (Wayne)
Jamestown (Crawford PA)
Fremont (Sandusky)
Wooster (Wayne)
Ravenna (Portage)
Millersburg (Holmes)
Norwalk (Huron)
Ashtabula (Ashtabula)
Oberlin (Lorain)
Mansfield Lahm Airport (Richland) *1st*
Tiffin (Sandusky)
Cleveland (Cuyahoga) *3rd*
Youngstown (Mahoning) *4th*
Akron-Canton Airport (Stark) *5th*
Findlay (Hancock)
Erie (Erie PA) * 4th*
Toledo Express Airport (Lucas) *8th*


Click on the counties below for pictures from the ice storm and the flooding that followed.

Click on a county for more storm information County Map