A Storm to Remember!
Mother nature dealt the islands some bad cards on Memorial Day Friday as steady 30-mile-per-hour winds out of the northeast and ruined the first half of the holiday weekend.
Weather guru Billy Market started warning everyone a few days ahead of time, and by Thursday night, the Catawba dock was packed with anxious people wanting to come to the Bay ahead of Friday’s storm. Cleveland TV Channel 5 was on hand to interview several of them including island resident Kendra Koehler who ended up waiting three hours in line to get home.
By the next morning, the rain was falling and the wind was pushing the water level to heights the island hasn’t hadn’t ]seen in more than 30 years. Thankfully the lake water level was down from 2019 and 2020 when the normal level of the lake was setting record levels.
Millers was able to make one run in the morning, but that was it for the day. The M/V Put-in-Bay ended up anchoring off the State Park Dock during the storm from early Friday morning to midday Saturday when service resumed.
Reports started coming in on social media. Trees were down at the Black Squirrel, the Arbor Inn and at the Stuckey home on Peach Point and other places. There were also plenty of limbs down. Before long, the water made State Route 357 impassable. JR Domer, one of the last to get across to “East Bass Island” reported the water was 40 inches deep by Monument when he drove through it.
Jeff and Jane Bringardner’s pickup truck, stalled in the middle of the road and PIB police officer Tyrone Sanders and Paul Jeris waded into the flooded Monument grounds to help the stranded passengers get to dry ground. One of the Lime Kiln busses tried to take a few people to East Point, but had to turn around. One unknown driver in a van with Florida plates drove through the deep water by going off the pavement and through the Monument lawn – not appreciated! A bit later as the water was starting to go down, Greg Auger and Jack Wertenbach were giving rides to and from East Point in Kyle Wertenbach’s pickup, one of those high ones with the oversize, The Monument ended up closing the grounds and the Visitors Center at the park.
Bayview Ave. from Oak Point all the way around Squaw Harbor and around Miller’s corner to the Crew’s Nest was flooded and impassable. The restrooms at Miller Marina were flooded and a little water got into the yacht club, plus there were floating docks washed up on the shoreline road by the bridge at Pinky’s Pond. Pinky’s Pond even had white caps in it.
Joe Cerny, who lives next to the Village water plant, watched as the plant’s water intake buoy got a rough ride in the ravaging waves. The powerful lake water threw debris up on the shore and washed out some of the stones along the shoreline protecting the facility.
There were some brave brave boaters who came over early to enjoy the weekend. They ended up retying lines and walking on water-covered docks. A large pleasure boat fell off its davits just south of the Bathing Beach and was pushed by waves to shore. Listing hard, it caught fire, and when all was over it was a total loss.
Over on Middle Bass, water almost reached the yacht club at the state park marina. Deist Rd. to East Point was covered with debris a mess. On North Bass, Honey Point on the southeast of the island has a totally new look. Police, fire and EMS personnel had to rescue approximately 15 resident/visitors from the high water levels.
During a ride around the island (not including East Bass Island), we saw just a few golf carts out, and many of the island businesses were actually closed. The Dairy Isle had some water inside, and it appears Sara Booker also had water issues at her cottage by Oak Point. We were also surprised to see someone leave Squaw Harbor in a small boat, plus an unknown man paddling on a surfboard in the lake off Shore Villas.
When all was said and done, the high water level was still about 4 inches shy of the all-time record set in the 1980s.
The previous piece is published in this month’s Put-in-Bay Gazette. The Gazette has been producing incredible independent Put-in-Bay island news for over 40 years. If you have any interest at all in what is happening on South Bass Island, we urge you strongly to subscribe to the Put-in-Bay Gazette. One-year online subscriptions are only $15, and print subscriptions are available as well. To subscribe please click here.
This piece of Put-in-Bay journalism has been provided to putinbayonline.com courtesy of the Put-in-Bay Gazette, Put-in-Bay’s only local newspaper. Visit their website putinbay.news for more information and to subscribe!