Event organizers, homeowners plan for heavy rains

City workers cleared storm drains in anticipation of this weekend's rain.

The remnants of Hurricane Isaac are packing plenty of rain that could ruin the big holiday weekend and put Hoosiers in the path of dangerous weather.

City work crews in Indianapolis shoveled out neighborhood storm drains Thursday, as inspectors double-checked floodgates. Meanwhile, the organizers of some big weekend events are reviewing plans to keep crowds safe.

Rib America Festival officials expect more than 80,000 people downtown.

"We've had bad weather in the past. We've worked around it," said Dave Lucas.

The remnants of Isaac could bring as much as seven inches of rain, damaging winds and tornadoes to Indiana. Lucas has his 28-page emergency response plan handy, including weather monitoring, warning procedures and evacuations.

"We will have security people directing people over here," Lucas said. "They will go out these four different exits to parking lots where their cars are."

Or, if necessary, over the canal to the safety of a neighboring parking garage.

Indiana's Department of Homeland Security is also monitoring the weather threat. Officials at IDHS and local emergency agencies are working to ensure the necessary staff is available over the long holiday weekend.

Lakes and rivers drained low by the drought will give the rain a safe place to run, though flash floods are still a threat. Too much rain too quickly can fill even a dry creek or culvert with water that's very deep, very quick and very dangerous.

One south side neighborhood has seen it happen too many times, despite the city's flood prevention efforts.

"We could get flooded, yes," said homeowner George Hickey.