WATCH: Erie Maritime Museum suffers severe wind damage and flooding

Western PA News

High winds battered the area on Saturday, causing trees to collapse, power outages and flooding.

According to Your Weather Authority, winds reached highs of 65 miles per hour, and waves in Lake Erie crested as high as 15 to 20 feet, pommeling the shoreline and flooding the Erie Maritime Museum.

“It’s an unfortunate thing,” said Chris Cusson, the Captain of the U.S. Brig Niagara. “It happens once, a couple times a season, and it’s something we’ve been dealing with since the lake levels have been so high.”

James Hall, the site administrator for the museum, said they received more than a foot of water in the basement. Their first response to flooding is to create a barrier with sandbags.

“The storm drains here, outside, are backing up,” said Hall. “The lake level comes up and fills the storm drains and the water has got no where to go.”

One of the top priorities for the workers is to keep the organic material such as ropes and sails dry.

“We’ve got to get all of this stuff laid outside,” Hall added. “Get it laid out and spread out, so it can dry out in the sun before it can come back in here. The biggest concern for us right now is drying this place out so mold doesn’t bloom down here.”

A total of 10 volunteers are helping the museum staff move the materials out of the basement to dry.

“We connected with the Bayfront Maritime Center, so they have a nice heated floor high ceiling,” said Cusson. “So, we are going to bring some sails over there, start spreading them out, start getting circulated over there, and that’s our first plan right now.”

Although there is a lot of cleanup ahead for the team, Hall said the bright side is nothing is damaged from the flood, so the museum will be open during normal hours of operation.

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