INDIANAPOLIS — Strong overnight storms that dumped record amounts of rainfall in parts of Indiana flooded rivers, streams and streets across the state Friday, closing numerous roads, forcing more than 200 people from their homes and prompting officials in at least three counties to declare local emergencies.
Many officials were keeping a wary eye on local tributaries, especially the Wabash River in Tippecanoe County. The National Weather Service predicted the Wabash River in Tippecanoe County would crest Saturday afternoon at 25.5 feet. That's the highest since 1958, when it topped 26 feet.
The storms dumped up to three inches of precipitation in a large swath of central and northeast Indiana, with isolated areas reporting more, said Earl Breon, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Indianapolis. Northwest of Indianapolis, the Boone County town of New Ross reported the highest total rainfall, 5.39 inches. The second-highest total was in Andrews, southwest of Fort Wayne, where 4.6 inches fell.
Fort Wayne and Indianapolis both set records for rainfall Thursday — 2.32 inches in Fort Wayne, breaking the old mark for that date of 0.97 inches set in 1978; 2.29 inches in Indianapolis, upending the 1887 record of 1.27 inches.
The city of Kokomo reported the fire department there has used boats and heavy equipment to evacuate more than 100 people from homes because of rising flood waters. City officials say the Wildcat Creek hit the highest mark recorded since a gauge was installed there in 1950. They also said Duke Energy workers were disabling power in some areas because of the danger caused by the water.
About 60 residents of the Stoney Creek Mobile Home Park near Zanesville, a few miles south of Fort Wayne, were evacuated when Eight Mile Creek overflowed its banks, Southwest Fire District Chief Don Patnoude said. About 10 to 15 residents stayed in their mobile homes, most of which were on higher ground.
Patnoude said rescue boats were used to remove residents from their homes, which were surrounded by up to 2 feet of water.