Some on Oregon council Monday praised the city’s One Call Now system for alerting the public to flash floods following a heavy rain storm on Monday.
One Call Now, an emergency notification system that the city contracted with two years ago, had annoyed some residents last August with repeated automated phone calls, many of which were for weather watches rather than warnings.
Many on council last year had fielded complaints from irate residents on the matter. Council and Mayor Mike Seferian, have sought to work out the bugs and limit the calls to just emergencies, such as for severe weather warnings.
“I was really pleased to get the flood warning today before it came on the TV,” said Councilman Kathy Pollauf. “I looked out the window and it was torrential rain. I knew it was a flooding. It was nice to get the call.”
Councilman Jerry Peach agreed.
“I thought the warning was brief,” said Peach.
The One Call Now system is also used by Wood County, Northwood, Millbury, Walbridge, Lake Township, the Northwestern Water and Sewer District, and Rossford.
Oregon Public Service Director Paul Roman said after the meeting that flash floods occur so quickly that there is little time to warn residents about local flooding.
“The National Weather Service issues warnings, and we have the option to choose which warnings we want to have through One Call Now system,” said Roman. “We’ve had issues in the past where we had too many calls for smaller type events. So some things were removed, such as a thunderstorm. But the system issues warnings for tornadoes and flash floods. We haven’t had many flash floods up until July. But we have had people call us and thank us for the warnings.”
On Monday in particular, he added, several residents called the city to express their appreciation for getting the call.
“People check their sump pumps and just make sure things are okay and they are ready for it,” said Roman.
Also at the meeting, Councilman Sandy Bihn said she was driving on Otter Creek Road and was surprised to see a portion of the street was badly flooded.
“You could not go through it,” she said. “There was a curve, and I avoided it. I’m not so sure I wouldn’t have planed out if I had gone through it. Since we had [Otter Creek Road] done over again, I was surprised.”
Otter Creek Road last year was reconstructed with new underdrains, berm, storm culverts, site grading and right-of-way restoration.
Roman said there are a lot of leaves plugging up catch basins this time of year that may be causing some of the flooding.
“There could be a plug in the storm drain. But we definitely had a flash flood tonight. We did have some flooding for about an hour,” said Roman, adding that he would check it out.