Melting Snow And Rain Cause Flooding Problems Across Central Ohio

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The combination of melting snow and rain has led to flooding issues across central Ohio.

Closed roads due to high water can be inconvenient for drivers, but they can also be dangerous.

Drivers traveling across Union County had to face several detours Friday due to flooding.

"I tried a little bit, but I started getting a little worried about it and decided to turn around and not take the chance,” Milford Center resident Jamie Giffin said about his encounter with some high water on West Darby Rd.

A portion of North Lewisburg Rd. was covered with large chunks of ice after the waters receded.

The Union County Engineer’s office says crews had to use snow plows to remove the ice Friday afternoon.

 "It's pretty bad out,” Giffin said. “It's making it tough for travelers and to get around anywhere."

The conditions aren’t just tough, they are dangerous too according to proponents of a bill working its way through the Ohio statehouse.

Under SB 106, drivers could face fines up to $2,000 for driving into a flooded roadway with “road closed” signs.

Ohio Senator Tim Shaffer (R-Lancaster) is the primary sponsor of the bill.

His office says the fines would be used to reimburse fire departments and rescue squads.

”That’s a great thing because once a road is closed, people still will drive through that road,” Fairfield County EMA Director Jon Kochis said. “They get stuck. The first responders have to come out and risk their lives just because someone was ignoring a sign."

Kochis recently testified at the statehouse in support of the bill.

It is called the "Allan H. Anderson, Jr. Act" in honor of a fallen northeast Ohio firefighter who died in a 2006 flooding rescue.

"He lost his life rescuing teenagers who drove through a closed road, drove around the signs, flooded their car out. It actually caught him in a whirlpool and he lost his life,” Kochis said.

That fatal accident is something proponents of the bill do not want to see happen again.

They hope a steep penalty prevents an outcome that proves costlier than any fine.

"It's not worth the risk,” Kochis said.

The bill is slated for a full floor vote in the Ohio house in the coming weeks and could be signed into law in March.