The most devastating summer flooding in Ohio history struck north-central Ohio during the state’s stormiest Independence Day in 1969.

Severe thunderstorms moved from Lake Erie into north coast communities at about 8 PM on July 4th. This line of storms became nearly stationary for eight hours from Toledo southeast through Fremont, Norwalk, Ashland, and Wooster.

Severe weather developed over Lake Erie after 6 PM and moved south toward the Ohio shore with strong winds, heavy rain, and intense lightning.

17 people died, over 500 were injured, more than 10,000 homes were damaged and 104 small businesses were destroyed.

Most of the damage from the July 4th storms resulted from extreme rainfall that fell overnight. Total rainfall was 10 to 14 inches from Ottawa County to Wayne County. On the flat, poorly drained land of Ottawa and Sandusky Counties, fields were flooded as far as the eye could see.

Record floods were reached on the Huron River, the Vermilion River, and the Black River. Most sections of Ashland and Wayne Counties were flooded and isolated for two days after the flood. Killbuck Creek in Holmes County rose 20 feet to its highest known level