The Weekly Newspaper serving the citizens of Morenci, Mich., Fayette, Ohio, and surrounding areas.

  • Snow.2
    FIRST SNOW—Heavy, wet flakes piled deep on tree branches—and windshields—as the area received its first significant snowfall of the season. “Usually it begins with a dusting or two,” said George Isobar, Morenci’s observer for the National Weather Service, “but this time it came with a vengeance.” By the end of the day Saturday, a little over four inches of snow was on the ground. Now comes the thaw with temperatures in the 40s and 50s for three days.
  • Front.sculpt
    SKEWERS, gumdrops, and marshmallows are all that’s needed to create interesting shapes and designs for Layla McDowell Saturday at Stair District Library’s “Sculptamania!” Open House. The program featuring design games and materials is one part of a larger project funded by a $7,500 Curiosity Creates grant from Disney and the American Library Association. Additional photos are on page 7.
    Morenci marching band members took to the field Friday night dressed for Halloween during the Bulldog’s first playoff game. Morenci fans had a bit of a scare until the fourth quarter when the Bulldogs scored 30 points to leave Lenawee Christian School behind. Whiteford visits Morenci this Friday for the district championship game. From the left is Clayton Borton, Morgan Merillat and James O’Brien.
    DNA PUZZLE—Mitchell Storrs and Wyatt Mohr tackle a puzzle representing the structure of DNA. There’s only one correct way for all the pieces to fit. It’s one of the new materials that can be used in both biology and chemistry classes, said teacher Loretta Cox.
  • Front.tar.wide
    A TRAFFIC control worker stands in the middle of Morenci’s Main Street Tuesday morning, waiting for the next flow of vehicles to be let through from the west. The dusty gravel surface was sealed with a layer of tar, leaving only the application of paint for new striping. The project was completed in conjunction with county road commission work west of Morenci.
  • Front.pull
    JUNIORS Jazmin Smith and Trevor Corkle struggle against a team from the sophomore class Friday during the annual tug of war at the Homecoming Games pep rally. Even the seniors struggled against the sophomores who won the competition. At the main course of the day, the Bulldog football team struggled against Whiteford in a homecoming loss.
    YOUNG soccer players surived a chilly morning Saturday in Morenci’s PTO league. From the left is Emma Cordts, Wayne Corser, Carter and Levi Seitz, Briella York and Drew Joughin. Two more weeks of soccer remain for this season.
  • Front.ropes
    BOWEN BAUMGARTNER of Morenci makes his way across a rope bridge constructed by the Tecumseh Boy Scout troop Sunday at Lake Hudson Recreation Area. The bridge was one of many challenges, displays and games set up for the annual Youth Jamboree by the Michigan DNR. Additional photos on are the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.homecoming Court
    One of four senior candidates will be crowned the fall homecoming queen during half-time of this week’s Morenci-Whiteford football game. In the back row (left to right) is exchange student Kinga Vidor (her escort will be Caylob Alcock), seniors Alli VanBrandt (escorted by Sam Cool), Larissa Elliott (escorted by Clayton Borton), Samantha Wright (escorted by JJ Elarton) and Justis McCowan (escorted by Austin Gilson), and exchange student Rebecca Rosenberger (escorted by Garrett Smith). Front row freshman court member Allie Kaiser (escorted by Anthony Thomas), sophomore Marlee Blaker (escorted by Nate Elarton) and junior Cheyenne Stone (escorted by Dominick Sell).
  • Front.park.lights
    GETTING READY—Jerad Gleckler pounds nails to secure a string of holiday lights on the side of the Wakefield Park concession stand while other members of the Volunteer Club and others hold them in place. The volunteers showed up Sunday afternoon to string lights at the park. The decorating project will continue this Sunday. Denise Walsh is in charge of the effort this year.
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Rain causes flooding in area 2008.01.16

Written by David Green.


Frozen ground. Melting snow. A couple inches of rain.

Bring out the “Water over roadway” signs.

Those signs bloomed last week as creeks overflowed and fields filled with water.

Flood warnings were still posted Sunday at Styker, Ohio, where the Tiffin River (Bean Creek) flowed about two and a half feet above flood

Upstream toward Morenci, the creek level had decreased to 2.2 feet below flood stage, still flowing far above the average for January or any month of the year.

Conditions changed quite rapidly, said Morenci area climate observer George Isobar, when the temperature warmed and the rain began falling.

“By comparing local climate data with figures from the U.S. Geological Survey, the process unfolds hour by hour,” he said.

The U.S.G.S. maintains a river gauge on the Tiffin River southwest of Morenci. The station is located where Fulton County Road 20 crosses the Tiffin.

“There’s a wealth of information on the U.S.G.S. website for those who have any interest in the rather arcane subject,” Isobar said. “Lots of facts and figures.”

The U.S.G.S. lists the measurement location as Bean Creek at Powers, Ohio—3.5 miles downstream from Silver Creek (at the south side of Morenci) and 5.2 miles east of Fayette.

At this point, the river drains 206 square miles of land. By the time it reaches Stryker, drainage has doubled to 410 square miles.

The river gauge provides a running commentary of water flow.

“At noon Jan. 4, water flow was measured at 145 cubic feet a second (cfs) which is actually below the long-term average for January,” Isobar said.

Data collection began in 1940, leading to a mean flow of 196 cfs for January.

“There was a modest increase 24 hours later to 203 cfs and a little more to 235 at noon Sunday, Jan. 6. A day later, flow had increased to 839 as temperatures rose and snow melted. We had four inches of snow on the ground earlier that week, but there was more standing farther upstream along the Bean.”river.gauge.cmyk.jpg

Water flow tripled by noon Wednesday, Jan. 8, after 1.37 inches of rain fell, reaching 2,340 cfs. The water depth rose two feet in five hours time and already exceeded the 15-foot flood stage.

“Don’t think that means the creek was 15 feet deep,” Isobar said. “That isn’t how the gauge works.”

The gauge height measured by the U.S.G.S. equipment does not actually determine the depth of the river. Instead, it determines how high the water surface stands above a predetermined level in the measuring equipment.

At typical flow, the Tiffin gauge remains at around 9.5 feet. Therefore, a rise of 5.5 feet is needed to reach flood stage.

Another eight-tenths of an inch of rain fell last Wednesday afternoon and evening and the maximum gauge depth of 18.87 feet was reached at 6:30 p.m. that day—9.4 feet deeper than an average day. The maximum flow was also recorded then, with 3,840 cubic feet of water flowing under the bridge every second.

“There was a pretty steady decrease after that,” Isobar said. “Flow was back to 2,000 cfs by Friday afternoon and the river dipped below flood stage by midnight.”

Flow was down to 800 cfs by mid-morning Sunday and the depth stood at only three feet above the typical height.

High points

The U.S. Geological Service website ( provides historical data for the Powers station on the Tiffin River, although data is missing from 1983 through 2000.

Gauge equipment has changed over the years, but the highest level shown in the past quarter century was recorded in March 1982 with a gauge height of 22.7 feet—more than 13 feet above the typical level.

Following are the top flow rates shown. The typical flow of the Tiffin River is less than 200 cubic feet a second (cfs). The maximum flow from the past flood conditions reached 3,840 cfs.

March 1982        4,900 cfs
April 19, 1956    4,250 cfs
May 13, 2002    4,190 cfs
April 5, 1950    3,980 cfs
Feb. 10, 2001    3,860 cfs
Jan. 8, 2008    3,840 cfs
Jan. 13, 2005    3,650 cfs
May 18, 1945    3,650 cfs
May 12, 1943    3,560 cfs
April 6, 1947    3,290 cfs
June 27, 1978    3,240 cfs

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