Flooding causes problems for central Indiana drivers

10th St. in Noblesville - photo by Julia Simpson
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Heavy rain caused widespread flooding across central Indiana Thursday afternoon. Westfield, which had three inches of rain in one hour, experienced flash flooding, and several roads were temporarily closed.

Several creeks overflowed their banks in Westfield and there were six water rescues in an hour.

Emergency crews rescued a woman from a Westfield business on E. Main Street, which was surrounded by flood waters. She did not appear to be injured, but crews had to use a boat to reach her.

Four others were rescued from the Open Doors Food Pantry at Jersey St. and S. Union St. Several drivers were rescued after trying to drive through high water.

Two businesses' employees located near Cool Creek Park were unable to leave due to the high water coming across the street until the water receded.

Four individuals had to be rescued from the Open Doors Food Pantry located at Jersey St. and South Union St. Another individual had to be rescued from a business on E. Main St. There were several other rescues throughout the city from drivers trying to drive through the high water. Two businesses' employees located near Cool Creek Park were unable to leave due to the high water coming across the street until the water receded.

Parking lots, fields and streets flooded throughout Hamilton County and central Indiana. Chopper 13 HD flew over high water areas, including 111th St. near Meridian and at 86th and Ditch Road, where water covered parking lots and roads.

Jenny Larson drove her tiny Fiat through water trying to get out of her apartment complex. But getting back in, she wasn't taking any chances.

"I made it out of there about an hour ago but I was window deep and once I committed I figured I better get going so I think I'm going to park at Marsh and walk home," she said.

Other drivers tried to drive around the water but the ground was so saturated, some got stuck.

Two sisters, aged 88 and 95, were rescued by Indiana Conservation officers in Blackford County after they drove around a barricade and stalled their car on State Road 26.

Indiana Conservation Officer Kendrick Fuhrman, with assistance from members of the Hartford City Fire Department, was able to wade out to the women and escort them to safety. Both were treated for mild hypothermia and released at the scene.

The driver, Bettie Moore of Hartford City, said she had just crested a hill and was unable to see the water across the road until it was too late to stop or turn around. She and her sister, Helen Overmyer, were then trapped when their car's engine stalled.

Officers said it was unclear why they drove around the barricade, which was posted with signs stating "high water - road closed." With spring flood season here, Indiana Conservation Officers would like to remind motorists not to cross flooded roadways and to always heed posted warnings. Only several inches of fast moving water has enough force to sweep vehicles off the roadway.

Turn around, don't drown - Each year, more deaths occur due to flooding than from any other severe weather related hazard. The Centers for Disease Control report that over half of all flood-related drownings occur when a vehicle is driven into hazardous flood water. The next highest percentage of flood-related deaths is due to walking into or ear flood waters.Why? The main reason is people underestimate the force and power of water. Many of the deaths occur in automobiles as they are swept downstream. Of these drownings, many are preventable, but too many people continue to drive around the barriers that warn you the road is flooded.

The reason that so many people drown during flooding is because few of them realize the incredible power of water. A mere six inches of fast-moving flood water can knock over an adult. It takes only two feet of rushing water to carry away most vehicles. This includes pickups and SUVs.

If you come to an area that is covered with water, you will not know the depth of the water or the condition of the ground under the water. This is especially true at night, when your vision is more limited.

Hamilton County offers sand bags to residents

Due to the heavy rains already falling and the forecast of more to come, Hamilton County Emergency Management is making sandbags available to county residents. Filled sandbags will be available during business hours, 8:00am-4:30pm, by calling (317)770-3381. A message can be left for Deputy Director Carl Erickson if no one is available to answer the phone. Sandbags are most useful ahead of flooding so residents should take steps ahead of time to prevent any possible flood waters.

Hamilton County is currently experiencing numerous roads and streets covered by high water. As a reminder, motorists should never attempt to drive through flooded streets.

•Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars causing loss of control and possible stalling.

•A foot of water will float many vehicles.

•Two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles including sport utility vehicles (SUV's) and pick-ups.

•Do not attempt to drive through a flooded road. The depth of water is not always obvious. The road bed may be washed out under the water, and you could be stranded or trapped.

•Do not drive around a barricade. Barricades are there for your protection. Turn around and go the other way.

•Do not try to take short cuts. They may be blocked. Stick to designated evacuation routes.

•Be especially cautious driving at night when it is harder to recognize flood dangers.

•If your car becomes trapped in water, climb to the roof and ride on it like a boat. Doors may not open until pressure is equalized by flooding waters so a window may be the best escape route. Waiting too long may cause power windows to become inoperable. Tools to break windows are available at most hardware stores.

Boone County also offering sandbags

Boone County EMA, Boone County Sheriff and Boone County Highway have made sandbags and sand available. The sandbags will be on the front entrance to the Boone County Sheriff's Office and sand will be available in the old county highway lot next to Bane Equipment on Indianapolis Avenue, across from the 4-H.