MAUMEE, OH (Toledo News Now) - The Maumee River ice jams have finally started to break up, but many problems remain.
Side Cut Metropark is still flooded, debris is scattered in the park and surrounding roads, and headstones have been detached from their foundation at the nearby Riverside Cemetery.
Many roads remain closed despite the receeded flood waters. Park rangers say the clean-up phase needs to begin.
Flooding and chunks of ice caused damage to Side Cut and the surrounding area. Signs are down, trees are banged up – some even snapped, and park benches have been damaged.
"It's a disaster that has affected our park," said Scott Carpenter, director of public relations for Toledo Metroparks. "On the nature side, though, this is an awesome display of nature, of what this river, the biggest river on the great lakes, can do."
Most of the cleanup depends on the ice melting. Officials hope to have the park open in time for the Walleye run.
Massive chunks of ice from the Maumee made a huge mess at the Riverside Cemetery, too. Pieces of ice are still covering half the cemetery, so the damage has not been fully assessed yet, but city and park leaders say it's the worst damage they've seen since 1982.
"It's totally unbelievable," said Maumee Service Director Joe Camp. "I've never seen this much ice, with this thick of ice, this much damage done to the edge of the roadway, to the trees, along the river banks."
The cemetery's fence is mangled, and 90 percent of the headstones were moved from their foundation.
"Mother Nature can be devastating," Camp said. "It's a very unfortunate situation and we will try to get things put back as quickly as we can."
The cemetery will be closed for a couple weeks until the city deems it safe to visit.
As for River Road, the city will have to remove and replace some of the road due to damage. Workers will start replacing stone along the side of the road on Tuesday.
"It's not going to be a lot of roadway and asphalt, but it's going to be a lot of stone and berm work that will have to be replaced," Camp said.
Officials have a warning for drivers: never bypass a barricade.
Rangers and the Maumee fire chief say they've had to rescue three people since Thursday from flood waters. One person has been charged with inducing panic.
Officials want to remind you only a small amount of these flood waters is enough to sweep you away.
"You could be in the road, you have no idea how deep it is," said Maumee Fire Chief Brandon Loboschefski. "It only takes 6 inches of water to sweep you away."