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Flooding traps some South Haven residents in their homes

County Road 600N off Indian130 near Portage was impassable Friday morning. | Carole Carlson~Sun-Tmes Media

County Road 600N off Indiana 130 near Portage was impassable Friday morning. | Carole Carlson~Sun-Tmes Media

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Updated: September 24, 2014 6:10AM



Porter County suffered the brunt of flash flooding Friday with residents in a South Haven neighborhood rescued in boats and Duck Creek subdivision residents in Portage Township stranded in their homes by flooded streets.

The flooding also damaged a bridge along Harrison Boulevard in Valparaiso near the St. Paul Catholic Church, closing the road.

The softball fields at Fairgrounds Park in Valparaiso flooded and walkers were unable to exercise on the track around the park.

More than six inches of rain fell in some parts of Northwest Indiana in the past two days, making roads impassable in some parts of Lake and Porter counties. Thunderstorms predicted to roll in Friday afternoon and Saturday could exacerbate the situation.

As of 10:16 a.m. Friday, Valparaiso had 6.26 inches of rain, according to the National Weather Service. Particularly heavy bands of rain hit Thursday afternoon, with spotters reporting more than an inch of rain in an hour in parts of Crown Point, Valparaiso and Wheatfield.

High amounts of water in a short amount of time overwhelmed sewers and sump pumps in South Haven.

In Portage Township, the area around South Haven Elementary School, at Midway Drive and McCool Road, also was heavily flooded, with the South Haven Volunteer Fire Department rescuing 18 people by boat early Friday morning.

At the Duck Creek subdivision along County Road 700W, South Haven Fire Chief Bill Lundy sent a tanker truck and fire engine to pump water off the water streets and into a nearby soybean field.

“My husband couldn’t get his Yukon out this morning, said resident Jill West. “We’ve been here seven years and never saw it this bad.”

The Wests were lucky. They said their sump pump ran all night, and their house remained dry.

“I’m glad my builder determined we should bring the house up 16 inches when he built it,” said Ken West.

Portage Township Trustee Brendan Clancy declared a state of emergency in the township and discussed the flooding at a Friday afternoon press conference.

Lundy said the water poured into the Duck Creek subdivision, which adjoins Duck Creek Golf Course, from County Road 600N. Its entry way at Indiana 130 was impassable Friday morning.

Lundy said firefighters shut off a few gas meters in the subdivision and treated a resident for a minor injury.

The area is bordered by Union Township, where school officials delayed the start of school by two hours.

Meanwhile, Lundy said Governor, Midway, and Timberline roads in South Haven, south of U.S. 6 also flooded badly and firefighters assisted getting students to South Haven Elementary.

Sgt. Larry LaFlower, public information officer for the Porter County Sheriff’s Department, said the area hardest hit by flooding from heavy rains was the old section of South Haven, from County Road 700 North to U.S. 6, and from McCool Road to Indiana 149.

The intersections of County Road 700 North and Indiana 149 and U.S. 6 and Indiana 149 also were closed from flooding, LaFlower said. Water also was reported on County Road 250 West between Indiana 130 and U.S. 30, where a section of the road was washed away.

Union Township resident Dan Shobe, who lives on County Road 600N, said he’s lived in his house since 1983 and never seen the road this bad.

He said his basement flooded after is sump pump and backup conked out.

In Valparaiso, city administrator Bill Oeding said the extensive rain damaged the bridge over Beauty Creek on Harrison Boulevard between St. Paul Catholic Church and Manchester Meadows.

Oeding said once the water recedes, the city will evaluate the damage and come up with a long-term repair plan.

The bridge will remained closed for safety reasons and a detour has been posted using Froberg Road, Indiana 130 and Yellowstone Road as alternate routes.

Also, high waters washed out an embankment and underground utilities on Vale Park Road, about 1,000 feet west of Froberg Road. A detour will be posted, using Froberg Road south to County Road 375 South.

Along with roadway flooding, the city received reports of flooded yards, and basements, said Steve Poulos, utilities director. “We haven’t seen the creek this high since the severe rains in 2008,” he said.

City sewers, storm water-receiving ditches, retention ponds and Salt Creek have all been maximized due to the heavy rain, he said.

In Lake County, on Thursday afternoon, 45th Avenue west of Broadway in Gary was waterlogged, and minor street flooding occurred Thursday night in Crown Point and Rensselaer.

Correspondent Amy Lavalley and staff writer Christin Nance Lazerus contributed to this report.



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