Wheeling Island Residents Brace For Major Flooding

Photos by Scott McCloskey Wheeling Island residents keep an eye on the level of the Ohio River on Friday. Several people are pictured looking over the river from the shore behind on South Front Street.

WHEELING — As the Ohio River continues to rise due to heavy rain throughout the region, Wheeling Island residents are banding together to brace for major flooding.

Henry Wood, a resident of North Erie Street on Wheeling Island, said he has been through two floods over the 20 years he has resided at that location — September 2004 and January 2005.

“We’re just taking precautions right now and getting some of the stuff up. We’re taking all the heavy stuff out right now,” said Wood, whose son and several friends were helping move appliances from the first floor of his house to an upper floor.

“If it comes up a little bit higher, then we’re going to have to move the furnace and the hot water tank. I didn’t want to take the furnace out yet because it is suppose to get cold tonight,” Wood added.

Wood said if water reaches the 40-foot level, it would probably bring the water up through the sewers in the alley behind his house.

North Front Street resident Michael Hajdukovich spent Friday afternoon assisting family members living on North Erie Street by moving supplies and heavy equipment out of their basement and garage area. They expect to get some water in their basement, based on the forecast.

Hajdukovich said he was still taking a wait-and-see approach before moving his own household items to a higher level because his lot is located a few inches higher than his relatives’ home. He said from past floods, when the water reached the 42-foot level, water begins to come up through the sewer at his North Front Street home. He said if it would reach 43 feet, it would cover his basement floor.

Hajdukovich, who remained hopeful the water would stay below Friday’s predictions, said many island residents have been through this before and they band together to help each other out during such times.

“It’s kind of like, you know it’s coming, but this came too fast,” he added.

North Front Street Resident Robert Richardson said he planned to continue monitoring the situation throughout the evening before deciding if he needed to move anything at his home. He said longtime residents know how to plan for river flooding.

“You just watch it (the river) and see what it’s doing,” Richardson said. “We know what’s going on. I’ve seen this before,” he added.

He said Wheeling Island residents are good at helping each other out during times such as this.