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 stage.
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.