Flooding Affects Local Businesses In Athens

Posted on:

< < Back to

Many local business owners closed shop along East State Street in Athens Thursday as the Hocking River flooded into the street and parking lots.

Heavy rainfall over the past week caused the Hocking River to rise overnight. According to the National Weather Service, the river is expected crest at 22.5 feet around 1 p.m. and recede throughout the afternoon.

Athens Police Department blocked off the section of East State Street from traffic between Kroger and Walmart. Some cars were flooded in parking lots.

Submerged cars await removal from the WalMart parking lot in Athens, Ohio on April 5, 2018 (Jordan Kelley/WOUB)

Businesses that did stay open along East State street saw fewer customers and less foot traffic. Reports of flooded roads throughout Athens County are also affecting businesses.

“We have deliveries that we have to do, which our guys probably won’t be able to get out to most areas today to do all the deliveries,” Rent-To-Own Athens Sales Manager Steven Secoi said. “We’ll have to reschedule for those. But, being careful, no one wants to get washed away in a flood.”

The last time East State street flooded was in 2005 when the Hocking River crested at 23.7 feet. Ohio University canceled class in late February this year because of the threat of a Hocking River flood that never materialized.

A stranded driver stands next to his car in the WalMart parking in Athens, Ohio on April 5, 2018. Flood waters from the Hocking River shut down parts of East State Street (Jordan Kelley/WOUB)

For most local residents, the flooding was merely an inconvenience. Yet most business owners on East State Street face the prospect of losing money because of it.

“I mean, we’re a small, family-owned business. And anything that affects us being able to serve anyone or being open obviously hurts. We rely on business every day,” Bill Kiser, Co-owner of Kiser’s BBQ , said.

For more visuals of the flooding, follow @woubnews and @woubVisuals on Twitter.

For a list of roads closed around the county, click here.