The Flood of 1913 struck with little warning. The catastrophe officially began 100 years ago Saturday, yet the "weather indicator" in that evening's edition of The Tiffin Daily Tribune and Herald predicted "fair to-night followed by increasing cloudiness. Sunday, rising temperatures."
Ominously, a top story in on day's front page told of windstorms that killed 50 people in the Ohio Valley, the South and "middle west" - including three in Ohio.
One of the victims was 75-year-old William Micks, who was killed when a smokestack at the Seneca County infirmary collapsed on him.
Monday, the page-one stories continued to tell the tale of windstorm damage in the Mississippi and Missouri valleys. A weather forecast at the bottom left of the page advised of a rainy week ahead.
And the Sandusky River in Tiffin still was below flood stage. It wasn't until Tuesday that a headline blared "BIG?FLOOD?SWEEPS?OVER?TIFFIN."
The newspaper wouldn't publish again until Saturday.
In the wake of the disaster, the river was widened through Tiffin and river walls were constructed. Those are passive improvements. Active improvements include advancements in weather modeling and forecasting.
"As far as preparedness, we are a lot better than what we would have been in 1913," said Seneca County Emergency Management Agency Director Dan Stahl. "One thing we've got going for us is the National Weather Service with forecasts on potential flooding."
It's said that to be forewarned is to be forearmed. But that's presumptive. Better, more accurate forecasts allow earlier warnings of trouble. But it is up to each of us to heed those warnings and prepare for what may come.
A flood can happen again. Will you be ready?