What would a Hurricane Harvey type event do to Cleveland?

What would a Hurricane Harvey type event do to Cleveland?

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Trying to put how devastating Hurricane Harvey has been to Houston and the surrounding area we asked Cleveland 19 Meteorologist Jon Loufman what would happen if Cleveland was hit by a storm with the rain and power of Harvey.

Keep in mind Houston's annual rainfall is 50 inches. In the first two days of Harvey Houston was hit with 20 to 25 inches of rain, and another 20 inches is expected by the end of Thursday. Some areas will record a total of 40 to 50 inches of rain in just 5 days.

"Flooding of that magnitude here, even with plenty of warning, would likely result in fatalities." Loufman warns. "Floods are responsible for more fatalities than any other weather phenomenon.  Just two to three inches of rain in a day has resulted in fatalities in Northeast Ohio."

Loufman says there's no way Cleveland's old infrastructure could handle that much rain that quickly. So streets everywhere, from downtown to the suburbs would quickly flood especially the lowest area. Loufman advises people to think about the areas that are flood prone with just two or three inches of rain. Valley View from the canal, Big Creek on Brookpark Road that floods the Sam's Club a couple of times a year, or the low roads under the bridges in Lorain that trap people trying to drive through it. These problems would be multiplied by 10 with 40 inches of rain.

"Any facility that's below street level would be undoubtedly be under water. So would any community close to a stream or river including areas in Parma, Valley View, Independence and many others," says Loufman.

When you look at downtown, and not only the rain but the lake water that would be pushed into downtown several of Cleveland's landmarks would be wiped out. "Imagine some of Cleveland's favorite downtown fun spots like Tower City, Progressive Field and First Energy Stadium under water. Sewage in the streets and months of cleanup would be just the beginning," says Loufman. Included in this list of places that would be ruined would be the brand new East Bank of the Flats renovation. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and all of the artifacts they couldn't remove quickly would be destroyed.

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