Vigilance a necessity when it comes to rising water

BELLVILLE — With the rain visiting frequently in the Clear Fork Valley, what happens when waters rise is on the mind of Rich Osborn.

His house, a two story structure that sits at the intersection of State Routes 97 and 13, is pretty familiar with ways the river can go over its banks.

Osborn, who is a village councilman, says he had to evacuate his house on the day he and his wife moved in. This was in 2013 in July.

Now, he monitors water levels with a flashy, sophisticated device he has as an app on his phone.

Osborn said he and his wife were in Alabama but decided to move back to the place that was home for his wife.

He thought they were lucky to find the house, but he knows people asked “why did you move into that house?”

He and his wife have two dogs, “wiener dogs” he calls them, and had decided they didn’t want to buy something. The house was available, and an agreement was come to with the landlord.

When the 2013 flood hit, it was after the landlord had refurbished the house. There was all new laminate flooring.

Four basement windows were blown out during the flood, and water rose to a level that would cover three strips of paneling on the garage, Osborn said. He and his wife moved most of their furniture to the second floor of the house. There was four inches of water on the first floor.

“I’m familiar with flooding,” said Osborn. He carries on his phone a picture of a flood in Illinois, which surrounded what he said was a pretty good restaurant. The clean-up of the house took until the first of November, he said.

There had to be all new cabinets in the kitchen.

A person without knowledge of flooding would have “been devastated” as a result of the flood, he said.

The village of Bellville has a monitor on the blue bridge that crosses the Clear Fork, set for readings by the United States Geological Survey (USGS). An individual can get onto the USGS website

It will ask if you want data. There will be a list of stations operated by the USGS. The Bellville station number is 03131989. This is for the Clear Fork Mohican River Bellville, Oh., station. A person can click onto that link, then sign up to get reports.

Osborn was able to use that link to get an app on his phone.

He has it set so when the monitor on the bridge reaches seven feet, his phone will go off. It will go off for every additional foot over seven feet.

Osborn said he thinks it would be a good idea if the village would put information on its website about the link to information from the USGS.

The forecast for April 4,5,6, and 7 is for rain every day, Osborn said. People talk about 100-year floods, he said, and those notions probably aren’t unrealistic.

Osborn said when a flood hits everyone panics, seeing helicopters and other types of equipment.

There are marks on some buildings where rescue people had to approach a house with a boat, Osborn said.

When the 2013 flood hit, full trees were going down the river, and there was a garbage can with wheels on it floating along, Osborn said.

He said he thinks the village would be wise to figure out a way to clean up the river, because a large mound of debris is now sitting on the river bank, and will probabbly be dislodged when serious high water occurs.

Rich Osborn’s phone, which shows the app he downloaded from the United States Geological Survey. Photo by Louise Swartzwalder Osborn’s phone, which shows the app he downloaded from the United States Geological Survey. Photo by Louise Swartzwalder