Flooding in southern Indiana could take weeks to subside

State Road 56 in French Lick, Tuesday, photo courtesy Serena Schamp

INDIANAPOLIS - Flooding due to relentless rains in southern Indiana could take weeks to subside.

The National Weather Service says some areas have received more than a foot of rain since April 12, with as much as 4 more inches forecast by Thursday. That's causing major to near-major flooding along the East Fork White River from Rivervale to Shoals, along the lowest reaches of the Wabash River and along the lowest reaches of the White River in southwest Indiana.

The weather service says southern Indiana flooding will continue through early May and could last more than three weeks in some areas.

Extensive river flooding is also expected in much of central Indiana by Friday.

Check river level reports.

Officials in Floyd County say they may declare a state of emergency this week due to heavy flash flooding and rising flood levels along the Ohio River.

Emergency Management Director Terry Herthel said Wednesday he will be meeting with New Albany's mayor and the county commissioners to determine whether to declare a state of emergency.

Herthel's crews have been working to pump as much of the flood water as possible into the Ohio River to mitigate any potential flooding later in the week when the river is expected to crest.

He says some residential areas north and east of New Albany's downtown could be at risk of major flooding if the pumps can't keep up with the water levels. There are about six pumps in operation.

Leaking sandbags create more flooding problems

Southwestern Indiana officials are checking on sandbags and levies in communities threatened by rising flood waters after a night of more heavy rain.

Vanderburgh County Emergency Management Director Sherman Greer said Wednesday some sandbagged areas are leaking water and that's creating more flooding problems in the county's northeastern corner.

The National Weather Service in Paducah reports that nearly an inch of rain fell in Vanderburgh County on Tuesday. The total rainfall for the county throughout April is almost 11 inches.

Greer says crews are bringing in more sandbags to shore up the barriers against flooded Pigeon Creek that's threatening two mobile home parks and also an upscale housing subdivision.

Officials say 8 homes flooded in Clarksville

Officials in southern Indiana's Clarksville say eight homes along an Ohio River tributary have been evacuated due to flooding.

Clarksville Fire Chief Tom Upton said Wednesday eight homes along Silver Creek were flooded with two to six feet of water as of Wednesday morning. He said 10 more homes in the area are at risk of severe flooding and firefighters have gone home-to-home to warn residents what could happen if more rain falls this week. No injuries have been reported.

In nearby Jeffersonville, officials are waiting for 8 to 10 temporary water pumps from the state to help ease potential flooding in the city's downtown on the Ohio River.

Jeffersonville Mayor spokesman Larry Thomas says there have been no damage reports.

Wabash, Ohio Rivers both threaten Posey Co.

The Indiana county lying at the junction of the Ohio and Wabash Rivers is bracing for flooding along both streams.

Posey County Emergency Management Director Larry Robb says residents already are self-evacuating from the lowlands along the Ohio River in the southwest corner of the county near the confluence with the Wabash. He says the National Weather Service has told him to expect river levels early next week topping the 54 feet measured during the devastating 1950 flood.

The Red Cross has opened a shelter at a church in the area.

Robb says forecasters expect the Wabash River to flood at New Harmony on Saturday. Already Indiana National Guard soldiers and Department of Correction inmates are piling sandbags to protect the plant providing drinking water to New Harmony's 900 residents.

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