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River crests today

April 29, 2011

    The St. Marys River apparently crested at approximately 21 feet in Decatur this morning, and with at least 24 hours of dry weather forecast, this week's steady rise may ease.
    The possibility of more rain exists Saturday night and Sunday, though, but the good news is that the National Weather Service's (NWS) extended outlook sees no precipitation for this areaa the first half of next week.
    Decatur weather station officials said this morning that the St. Marys stood at 20.96 feet and NWS officials had for the second time revised their crest forecast, this time calling for a 21-foot crest at 8 a.m. today.
    Rainfall here in the past 24 hours was just .05 of an inch. "So hopefully this is it for awhile," a local weather station official said this morning.
    The city has received 2.18 inches of rain in the past four days.
     Water has crawled onto US 224 in the Jackson St. area overnight, but was causing no traffic problems.
    Several county roads near the Wabash River are closed and State Rd. 101 at Pleasant Mills, beside the St. Marys, is also shut down, Shaun Roe, assistant county highway superintendent, said this morning.
    Roe said "High Water" signs have been placed at those county roads, with red warning flags as an additional alert to drivers.
    Mostly sunny skies and a high near 61 were on tap for Decatur-area residents today, with west winds still roaring, at between 15 and 20 mph. A chilly low in the high 30s is predicted for tonight, under mostly clear skies.
    More sunshine and a high in the low 70s is seen for this area Saturday, but there is a 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms Saturday night and Sunday, according to the weather bureau.
        Rain-soaked Indiana could use several days for floodwaters to subside, but the National Weather Service says the saturated state isn’t going to get much of a break in coming days.
    Southern Indiana has received from 6 to 15 inches of rain since April 4, with flooding throughout the region.
    And the area isn’t alone. River flooding also is occurring in central Indiana, with levels along the Wabash River from Lafayette to Vincennes expected to be the highest since 2008, threatening rural areas and roads.
    The weather service says five days of dry weather is needed for central Indiana streams to subside, and southern Indiana needs at least 10 days to dry out.
    But meteorologist Joe Skowronek says the forecast is for rain to return Saturday night through Monday morning in those areas.
    Twelve counties have so far declared states of emergency, including Evansville and Vanderburgh County, meaning they could seek state and federal assistance.

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