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As temps rise, flooding concerns grow

By Annie Chang
Published On: Jan 10 2014 04:16:48 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 10 2014 05:23:24 PM CST

With the warmer weather comes problems. All the snow and ice we've had will melt, which could spell trouble for homeowners who live in flood zones. WSBT's Annie Chang has the story.

ELKHART COUNTY -

Elkhart County officials are warning homeowners of possible flood conditions this weekend.

Warmer temperatures coupled with chances for rain showers could spell trouble for those living in low-lying areas, especially near rivers.

It was already warm enough on Friday for Joleen Krause to shovel her driveway on her own.

"It's nice," she said. "It's nice."

But that nice could turn into a nuisance.

Krause just moved into her home along the St. Joseph River in Elkhart, so she's not sure what to expect. But she's heard other houses in her neighborhood are at risk for flooding.

She said she's trying to stay optimistic by cracking jokes.

"At breakfast this morning, I said, 'I'll just get an auger and go out and drill holes in the ground,'" Krause said, laughing. "So that when it rains or it melts, it will have some place to go."

Josh Guines said the river floods on his family's riverfront property every year, and it's taking its toll on their yard.

"The river overflows, just takes over the whole seawall and the whole bottom part of our backyard and degrades it every year," Guines said. "Every year it gets worse and worse and the seawall falls more and more into the river."

After looking at the forecast for this weekend, county emergency management officials are opening their sand distribution centers.

"I want to be able to have the public be able to go and self-serve and divert the water from things that are important to them, their properties," said Mike Pennington, deputy director for the Elkhart County Emergency Management Agency.
But officials aren't quite sure what to expect, either.

"It just depends on how the melt takes place, how much of it takes place, where it goes and where it's diverted to, and what type of saturation we get from the ground," Pennington said.

So, until the sun comes out and the river ice jams start to thaw, all these homeowners can do is prepare for the worst.

"If the seawall falls, the whole backyard starts to go into the river and our deck degrades and just falls apart," Guines said.

Anyone wanting to pick up sand from their respective counties should be prepared to fill and move the sandbags themselves. Those living in Berrien and Cass counties are encouraged to purchase sand from their nearest home improvement store.

Sandbag pick-up locations:

Elkhart County

  • 475 Steury Avenue, Goshen (Goshen Street Department)
  • 59038 C.R. 7 (County Highway Maintenance Garage)
  • 19701 C.R. 46, New Paris (Boy Scout Camp parking lot)
  • 2421 17th St, Elkhart (Elkhart Street Department)

Kosciusko County

  • 2936 E. Old Road 30, Warsaw (County Highway Garage)

Marshall County

  • 9515 King Road, Plymouth (old EMA office just north of County Highway Garage)

St. Joseph County

  • 54837 Quince Rd, South Bend (SW Central Fire Station No. 4)
  • 19971 Kern Rd, South Bend (SW Central Fire Station No. 2)
  • 18355 Auten Rd, South Bend (Clay Fire Station No. 2)
  • 13981 State Road 23, Granger (Clay Fire Station No. 4)
  • 13960 Jackson Rd, Mishawaka (Penn Fire Station No. 1)
  • 13750 McKinley, Mishawaka (Penn Fire Station No. 2)
  • 731 S. Lafayette, South Bend (South Bend Street Department)
  • 500 N. Cedar St, Mishawaka (Mishawaka Street Department)