Flooding prompts emergency declarations

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Updated: .

Indianapolis - Severe flooding has prompted evacuations and emergency declarations in several counties Saturday. Some 30,000 people are without power, cars and crops are under water, homes are flooded and dams are breaking up. No injuries have been reported so far.

"At this point, mercifully, we believe all Hoosiers are secure," Daniels said during a news conference in the state's emergency operations center. "We hope that will continue."

The Indiana National Guard has been deployed, with 100 troops assisting operations in Terre Haute and Martinsville. Twenty-five soldiers will help with sandbagging, barricading and rescue operations in Franklin. Armories in Martinsville, Greencastle and Brazil have been activated and are available if people need to go there for assistance. The armory in Spencer has been turned over to the city.

"I wanted to make certain that if swift action is necessary to protect life or property, that it happens on the fastest possible schedule," Daniels said.

The governor was concerned about more rain in the northern parts of the state, which would feed already swollen rivers in southern counties.

"We may not have seen the worst of it," Daniels cautioned.

Wainscott said about 90 percent of the town of Paragon was under water.

Weather Service hydrologist Al Shipe said flooding on the White River in some areas south of Indianapolis over the next two to three days could reach levels comparable to the historic flood of 1913. That flood killed 200 people statewide and displaced 200,000, according to the Indiana Historical Society's Web site.

In Columbus, helicopters were called to Columbus Regional Hospital to fly patients to other hospitals as waters began to rise in the area. Authorities are reporting that the 17th Street bridge over Haw Creek in Columbus has collasped. Police there are asking people not to come into Columbus and are closing the 2nd Street and 3rd Street bridges.

Saturday afternoon, the governor declared emergencies in ten counties due to flooding. That list includes Brown, Clay, Greene, Johnson, Monroe, Morgan, Owen, Shelby, Vermillion and Vigo counties. State officials are asking that no one travel unless absolutely necessary.

In addition, Governor Daniels and state police are urging residents to keep phone lines clear except in an emergency.

Hundreds of people have been evacuated in Morgan and Vigo Counties, as well as residents in Shelby County. Indianapolis Water has issued a boil order for its customers in Morgan County due to a water main break. Customers should boil water for three minutes before consuming it to ensure it is clean.

Bargersville also reported that its sewer plant was working at capacity.

Roads closed

State police report that State Roads 37 and 67 are closed at multiple locations in Morgan County. The worst areas are south and southeast of Martinsville.

I-70 westbound was closed between US 231(Cloverdale) and SR 59 (Brazil exit) for nearly 12 hours before it reopened at 11 pm. The eastbound lanes had also been closed for a time, but they have since been allowed to reopen. Also, due to heavy traffic in and around Terre Haute on Interstate 70, police are urging motorists to find alternate routes through Terre Haute.

I-65 has reopened at the 83 mile marker just north of Edinburgh, where it had been closed since around noon Saturday.. Chopper 13 showed both northbound and southbound lanes covered with water near the Timbergate area at 3:00 pm. (See more street closures and get accident info.) It has also been reopened at the I-465 exit through Marion and Johnson Counties.

I-65 traffic is being diverted and drivers are being forced to make U-turns at Edinburgh. The semi trailers that were on the road are lining up. It is more difficult for them to turn without getting stuck in the mud. By mid-evening, hundreds of cars were stopped on the roadway.

Closures are also reported on SR 9, SR 11 and US 31 in Bartholomew County and SR 135 in Johnson County.

Putnam County has declared a level one emergency. Civilians are being advised to stay off the roads. Some one-third of county roads are flooded. US 231 north of US 40 is closed.

Closures by county:
-Bartholomew County: State Road 46 westbound in Columbus
-Benton County: State Road 18 south of Fowler
-Brown County: State Road 135 north of Bean Blossom, State Road 135 north of Nashville, State Road 45 from State Road 135 to the Monroe County Line
-Daviess County: State Road 358 between S.R. 57 and S.R. 67
-Decatur County: State Road 3 in Greensburg, U.S. 421 at State Road 46
-Jackson County: State Road 58 at C.R. 400 South, State Road 235 east of Medora, State Road 258 from Cortland to Seymour
-Johnson County: State Road 37 at State Road 144, State Road 252 from Flatrock to Trafalgar, U.S. 31 from Edinburgh to Franklin
-Morgan County: S.R. 37/S.R. 67 & S.R. 252, State Road 142 about one mile west of S.R. 39, State Road 144 east of State Road 67, State Road 42 north of Eminence
-Owen County: State Road 46 west of Spencer
-Putnam County: State Road 42 east of U.S. 231
-Shelby County: State Road 252 in Shelby County
-Sullivan County: State Road 48 between U.S. 41 and State Road 63
-Vermillion County: State Road 71 about three miles north of Dana, State Road 163 over the Vermillion Creek Bridge

Scuba rescues

Storms dumped as much as 10 inches of rain on already soggy central Indiana on Saturday, flooding a hospital, inundating roadways and sending a scuba team to rescue residents from swamped homes.

The U.S. Coast Guard sent rescue teams to one of the stricken counties, landlocked Morgan southwest of Indianapolis, and the Indiana National Guard sent out helicopters to assist in rescues.

A scuba team was performing swift-water rescues and evacuating homes, dispatcher Zachary Elliott of the Johnson County Sheriff's Department said.

County Commissioner Tom Kite told WIBC-FM that water had reached the first floor of Johnson Memorial Hospital in Franklin.

A mud slide damaged a home in Martinsville in Morgan County, but the residents were evacuated and no injuries were reported, said Steve Brock, president of the county's EMS Association.

More than 30,000 electric customers lost power, the Indiana Utilities Regulatory Commission said.

Authorities opened emergency shelters in Johnson County, the Bloomington area and in Indianapolis.

The National Weather Service issued flash-flood warnings in 15 counties, saying record flooding was possible.

Authorities also were cleaning up in northeast Indiana and northwest Ohio, where thunderstorms and gusting winds tore down trees and power lines Friday night. Crews were busy restoring power while survey teams checked reports of funnel clouds and tornadoes.

Flash flood warning details:

The National Weather Service in Indianapolis has issued a flash flood warning for many counties in the southern part of central Indiana until at least 8 pm. There is also a flood warning in effect for parts of Bartholomew, Montgomery, Morgan and Shelby Counties.

At 10:25 am, NWS doppler radar indicated additional showers and thunderstorms with heavy rain will be moving into the warned area through the noon hour. This will serve to exacerbate flooding that is already occurring.

Additional rainfall amounts in excess of one inch is possible.

Locations in the warning include but are not limited to Wynnedale, Spring Hill, Rocky Ripple, north Crows Nest, Meridian Hills, Crows Nest and Clermont.

Do not drive your vehicle into areas where the water covers the roadway. The water depth may be too great to allow your car to cross safely.

Most flood deaths occur in automobiles. Never drive your vehicle into areas where the water covers the roadway. Flood waters are usually deeper than they appear. Just one foot of flowing water is powerful enough to sweep vehicles off the road. When encountering flooded roads make the smart choice...turn around...don't drown.

A flash flood warning means that flooding is imminent or occurring.  If you are in the warning area move to higher ground immediately.

Residents living along streams and creeks should take immediate precautions to protect life and property. Do not attempt to cross swiftly flowing waters or waters of unknown depth by foot or by automobile.

Report flood damage

Flood safety awareness - Turn around - don't drown

Flood Smart - See the government's site on flood insurance

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