Flooding, water damage to NWI seems minimal
By Carrie Napoleon Post-Tribune correspondent April 19, 2013 1:24PM
Leo Woelfer, who lives nearby, lowers his head as snow flurries whip around as he checks on the water level slowly coming down on the Little Calumet River at the Northcote bridge in Hammond, Ind. Friday April 19, 2013. Thursday's heavy rains tapered off, leaving behind much colder temperatures Friday, and even snow flurries. | Stephanie Dowell~Post-Tribune
Updated: May 21, 2013 6:20AM
Officials are watching and waiting to see what further impact the heavy rains that have pelted the region may have.
The south side of Munster remains flooded, according to information from the town’s police department. River Drive from Hohman Avenue to the Lansing, Ill., border is closed along with Northcote Bridge, Columbia Bridge and Timberwood.
Little Calumet River Basin officials say the western portion of the river has crested and it is expect the east will crest early Friday evening.
Dan Repay, agency director, said the river reached as high as 15 feet in Hammond and 13.43 at Kennedy Avenue in Highland. However even though the river was listed as well above flood stage by the National Weather Service, the flood stage map does not take into account recent improvements to the basin that have improved water flow. The highest reported level of the river was at almost 18 feet in 2008.
“Because we changed the dynamic, the level is different,” Repay said. Flooding issues were minimal except in a few neighborhoods, one in Highland and two in Munster, where the water was so high it had trouble leaving the areas.
“We’re fortunate we really didn’t have any issues,” he said.
Jodi Richmond, director of the Lake County Department of Homeland Security/Emergency Management Agency, said so far the county is not having any significant issues. She said residents who are experiencing flooding issues in their homes should contact the agency or file a report online. So far, she said, the agency has received only four calls from homeowners.
“All of that (storm water) mitigation grant money is doing its job,” Richmond said.
All roads in the county were open, though high-water areas persist and have been signed. She said the agency is closely monitoring Munster, Hammond, Gary and Griffith for possible flooding issues, along with some unincorporated areas in north Lake County and south Lake County near Shelby. So far no significant problems have been reported.
In Gary, Colfax Street between 29th Avenue and Ridge Road in Black Oak was closed.
Little trouble is being reported on the state’s roads as well. No new state road closures were reported in Northwest Indiana, said Matt Dietchley, public relations director for the Indiana Department of Transportation LaPorte District.
“Widespread, nothing is really happening,” he said, adding the only state road closures are in Cass County. “We’re just kind of keeping an eye out, pretty much the same as we did yesterday.”
He cautioned motorists to not try to cross areas of standing high water.
Residents who experience damage caused by recent severe weather and flooding can report that damage online at the Indiana Department of Homeland Security website, in.gov/dhs. Lake County residents can also contact the Lake County Department of Homeland Security/Emergency Management Agency at 755-3549.