Thousands of Ohioans are spending today cleaning up flood damage.
Gov. John Kasich has declared a state of emergency in 17 counties. And he says in most of those places, preparation by emergency crews prevented more damage.
“The good news is, for a lot of people, not everybody, but for a lot of people, they are either in their homes or they return to their homes and there’s been minimal damage to them,” Kasich said.
But some roads throughout the state remain under water. Weather officials are hoping the next couple of days, which are supposed to be dry, will allow some of the flooded areas to recover.
In Hamilton County, disaster officials are still trying to get a handle of the damage. The Ohio River is predicted to fall below flood stage slowly, but the amount of damage will determine if the county qualifies for state and federal aid.
Emergency management director Nick Crossley says the plan is to report to the state by March 9. If there's enough damage to qualify for federal assistance, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) could send representatives the week of March 12.
"We will follow how long it takes to recede and we'll work with the state (of Ohio) on that date,” Crossley says. “It's really from the end of the event, so they're clarifying the end of the event with FEMA today. Then we have 30 days to complete all the damage assessments including the ones with the federal government."
Crossley is encouraging individuals and communities to document damage as soon as it's safe.
"If it looks like the water will take longer to recede and Cincinnati or anybody cannot safely assess their areas,” Crossley says, “we will go back to the state and say, ‘Here's our issues, we need a few more days to be able to get in there.'"