The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update

Cops, courts and fires

April 22, 2013

Emergency crews assess flood damage in Elwood

Officials to go door-to-door Tuesday

ELWOOD, Ind. — The waist-high flood waters have finally receded in Elwood after a spring storm poured 4 to 6 inches of rain on northern Madison County in less than 36 hours Thursday and Friday.

Now residents are working on clearing sodden belongings and debris, and taking stock of the damage.

Tuesday morning, the Madison County Emergency Management Agency and the state Department of Homeland Security will be in Elwood to do follow-up assessments, said EMA spokesman Todd Harmeson.

“We’ll be going door-to-door documenting the damage,” Harmeson said. If home or business owners can’t be there today, he said they should fill out a self-assessment online. That link is available on the Madison County EMA Facebook page.

Indiana Homeland Security was in Tipton County on Monday, and will move on to other affected counties later this week. If the state as a whole has enough damage, the governor could make a major disaster declaration, he said.

Then, the Federal Emergency Management Agency would evaluate and advise the White House on what actions to take, such as whether to give federal aid. If the president approves, it could mean disaster housing, grants, loans and other federal aid programs.

“We’re only at the start of the process,” Harmeson said.

In the meantime, Elwood residents are trying to get back to normal operations, said city spokesman Jeff Howe.

He said there were no evacuees left at the Cornerstone Assembly of God, which had served as an emergency shelter. Many had returned to their homes to clear debris.

“We’ve set up extra trash bins and are going around and helping where we can,” Howe said. But there was a lot of damage.

Water settled in a nearly 3-square-mile area of downtown Elwood — mostly in the northeast quadrant — forcing authorities to evacuate that area of the city, Mayor Ron Arnold said last week.

Arnold said one police cruiser was flooded in the deluge and is a total loss. In addition, water flooded Callaway Park, its Little League and softball fields, and Birch Bayh Senior Center, which was renovated recently at a cost of $50,000. The city was planning to hold a rededication this week, but Howe said it will now need new flooring.

Reporter Stu Hirsh contributed to this story.

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