Many areas were flooding across Van Wert County on Friday after storms and heavy rains passed through Thursday night. Several roads including this area on Middle Point Road near Lincolnview Local Schools. (DHI Media/Kirsten Barnhart)
Many areas were flooding across Van Wert County on Friday after storms and heavy rains passed through Thursday night. Several roads including this area on Middle Point Road near Lincolnview Local Schools. (DHI Media/Kirsten Barnhart)

VAN WERT COUNTY – Emergency Management director Rick McCoy spent most of his night on Thursday watching swirling flood waters block area roads and causing emergency flooding in many parts of the county.

It all started late in the evening when a cluster of heavy storms made its way south into northern Indiana.

Initially, there was a “blocking cap,” a weather condition that blocks off the moisture and prevents the storms from coming into the area. However, McCoy said, he was warned by the National Weather Service that the cap stood in danger of breaking.

“They told me in mid-evening that if the cap should break, all chaos could break lose and send deluges of heavy rain into the area. Early on the storms were blocked north of Fort Wayne and along the toll road. However, around 9 p.m. the cap broke and inches of rain came rushing into the area with heavy thunderstorms,” said McCoy.

"In addition to the heavy rains, several areas received excessive hail including hail the size of tennis balls in the Huntington, Indiana area,” continued McCoy.

McCoy said that he noted a strange rotation in a thunderstorm on radar around midnight. The storm was located northeast of Van Wert.

“Suddenly, strong east winds started to blow. At one point, winds reached a peak of 57 miles per hour with torrential rains,” said McCoy. “I was in my office on the east side of the city where the apex of the storm went through. With the heavy rain and wind, it was really kind of frightening.”

McCoy said that heaviest rains fell north from U.S. 30 and east toward Delphos. He noted that a good portion of Lincoln Highway was under water from Van Wert to Delphos, including all of the ground around the Van-Del theater north of Middle Point.

McCoy said that a large portion of the area received between four and five inches of rain with some areas in a large portion of the storms receiving in excess of five inches.

“It’s incredible,” said McCoy. “We had no warning that anything this severe was upon us. As is the case so many times this year, the storms just exploded.”

McCoy said that unfortunately, there is the potential for outbreaks of storms the rest of the weekend.

“If that’s not enough, a huge low pressure starting to building across the Great Plains could bring a real mess into the area by mid-week, including heavy rain and an outbreak of severe weather,” said McCoy.