Recent heavy rains sent rivers out of their banks and triggered the closing of flood-vulnerable facilities in low-lying areas of Ohio's Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
A weather system bearing heavy rain moved into northeastern Ohio on Friday and continued dumping rain on Saturday as colder temperatures threatened snow. Rivers and streams swollen by several inches of rain poured out of their banks, inundating flood plains and rendering many structures and facilities in low-lying areas of the river corridors unusable or inaccessible. Moderate flooding is expected to affect additional low-lying areas before river levels return to normal.
In Cuyahoga National Park, officials closed the popular Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail between the Botzum Trailhead in Akron and the Lock 39 Trailhead in Independence. Two of the park's visitor centers -- The Hunt Farm Visitor Information Center in Cuyahoga Falls and the Peninsula Depot Visitor Center -- were also closed, in addition to four roads, more than a dozen parking areas, and the Stanford Connector hiking trail.
The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, which offers rides on weekends from September through May, canceled its trips on Saturday and Sunday. This is an unusual action for the popular railroad, which proudly advertises that it operates "rain, shine, or snow."
People planning visits to Cuyahoga National Park should be sure to monitor weather conditions and check for up-to-date closures and cancellations by calling the park's Flood Hotline at 440-546-5960.