Blackford County deals with flooding after up to ten inches of rain fell

Blackford County residents, along with residents of neighboring counties, are dealing with flood damage following up to ten inches of rain.

Governor Pence's Deputy Chief of Staff for Public Safety John Hill said the governor is aware of what residents are dealing with, and that the state is in communication with local leaders if help is needed.

"At Governor Pence's direction, the State of Indiana has reached out to leaders in Hartford City in regard to local flooding. At this time, the community has not requested assistance. The State will continue to monitor the situation and stands ready to assist if needed in the days to come," he said.

Flooding at a mobile home park in Hartford City.

A shelter has been established for residents affected by the flooding at the Blackford County Fairgrounds, located at 310 E. Park Avenue in Hartford City.

All lanes of I-69 near Grant County are open this afternoon after portions of the interstate were flooded this morning north of State Road 18 and south of State Road 218.

Doppler Radar estimates over nine inches of rain fell across Blackford County. Flooding is still a big concern for parts of central Indiana, especially northeast of Indianapolis.

I-69 in Grant County (Photo courtesy ISP)

Blackford County is under an orange-level travel advisory. Essential travel only, such as to and from work, is recommended.

Huntington County is under a yellow-level travel advisory. Routine travel or activities may be restricted in areas because of a hazardous situation, and individuals should use caution or avoid those areas.

State Road 26 east of Hartford City is impassable and much of State Road 3 through Hartford City is down to one lane due to flooding.

Blackford County Schools are closed today and Eastbrook Schools are on a 2-hour delay because of flooding.

Blackford County Schools Superintendent Scot Croner says the street in front of the junior high school in Hartford City had at least three feet of water Friday morning. Officials say the county between Fort Wayne and Muncie has seen at least 8 inches of rainfall overnight.Croner says the high school's basement was flooded, and maintenance crews were using sump pumps to clean it up.

Flooding prevented fire crews from reaching a large salvage yard fire on State Roads 3 and 18 in Blackford County.

Thunderstorms dropped heavy rain overnight into the early morning hours today. The National Weather Service issued flash flood warnings for several counties, some of them have already seen over six inches of rainfall since the storm moved in around midnight.

Blackford County emergency management director Aaron Henderson says the county just north of Muncie saw what he called a "boatload of rain," but that scattered road flooding was the most serious problem.

There were some water rescues Friday morning.

Northwestern Indiana police say firefighters used boats to rescue 18 people.
Sgt. Larry LaFlower of the Porter County Sheriff's Department says rain-swollen Salt Creek trapped four families in their homes in the community of South Haven. He says firefighters used boats early Friday to rescue those residents and bring them to dry ground at a local fire station.

LaFlower says the flooded homes were in an older, flood-prone neighborhood in the community about 15 miles east of Gary.

He says several side streets in South Haven are flooded and there's significant flooding near South Haven Elementary School.
If you need emergency assistance with housing, food, clothing or other disaster-caused losses, contact the Red Cross at 888-684-1441.

Water recedes, residents return 

By Saturday, much of the high water had greatly receded and residents started to return home.

Tim and Jenna Wright returned home to try to get their cars up and running.

"I've still got water in my cup holder, that's how high the water was," Tim Wright said.

Their vehicles took the brunt of the damage.

"My brother-in-law got one running but I'm getting ready to start on this one," Tim Wright said.Jenna drives nearly a half hour to work each day in nearby Marion. While their cars dry out, their home is okay, at least from what they can see.

"There can be mold or anything growing up from the ground so we're just worried about is it going to get taken care of," Jenna Wright said.

The Red Cross headed out to check on residents returning home Saturday.

"We've got some water and meals and cleaning supplies," Mike Williams told the Wrights after greeting them Saturday afternoon.

Williams is in his tenth year of volunteering for the Red Cross.

"We get a lot of hugs and things and that's kind of what keeps us going so it makes it all worth while. You never know when you're going to need it at home," he said.

As residents continue to return home and get on their feet, the Red Cross says they will be in the area throughout the weekend to help with those efforts.