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The river’s down, but...

March 4, 2011

FLOOD FUN ... These Canadian Geese stopped in Decatur this week, probably due to hearing we had plenty of water to enjoy. After checking out the scene, they then decided to take a swim (Photos by Eric Mann)

    The good news: The St. Marys River was rapidly falling in Decatur this morning.
    The bad news: Rain was not only imminent this morning, but the National Weather Service says heavy rainfall is possible.
    The St. Marys crested overnight at about 22.3 feet, then began receding. By 7 a.m. today, it stood at 21.48 feet.
    "We're in pretty good shape right now; the river is dropping fast," Decatur Street/Sanitation Superintendent Jeremy Gilbert said at 7:45 a.m. "All the water is off (East) Monroe St. and is dropping on (US) 224 at Jackson St., but that remains closed.
    "That (the 224 closure) could change later today ... but that's if the rain holds off."
    There seems little chance of the rain holding off, however.
    The National Weather Service said there was a 90 percent chance of rain and possibly a thunderstorm before 1 p.m. today, then a 100 percent chance tonight, with between three-quarters of an inch to an inch possible.
    More of the same is predicted for Saturday; 100 percent chance of rain and possibly a thunderstorm before 1pm, then more rain; some of the storms could produce heavy rainfall. Precipitation chances are pegged at 70 percent for Saturday night — and it could come in the form of snow, the weather bureau said.
    Then no more rain is in the forecast until Tuesday night.
    Temperatures, meanwhile, are well above normal, with highs of 55 and 46 degrees seen for today and Saturday, respectively, before dropping back to 36 on Sunday.

Sandbags filled
    Between 2,000 and 3,000 sandbags were filled Thursday for use throughout Adams County.
    The county's emergency management director, John August, said this morning that a number of people helped fill the bags, including jail inmates, and that anyone who wishes to volunteer for such work should come to the Adams County Waste Transfer Station on County Rd. 200 East beside Golden Meadows Home and just south of US 33.
    August said he knows at least two homes in Decatur with sandbags on the property: one on High St. near the Knights of Columbus pavilion and one on N. Second St. near Washington St., where a garage is being protected.
    He also said a man from Berne took away a number of filled bags on Thursday.
    Adams County Highway Superintendent Mark Mitchel said this morning that the Wabash River has dropped some, so a few roads in the southern end of the county that were impassable on Wednesday and Thursday are open. However, the roads nearest the rivers remained closed.
    One key road that has reopened is County Rd. 1100 South, which used to be State Rd. 116, said Mitchel.
    The Wabash reportedly crested at about 12.4 feet on Thursday, well above its 11-foot flood stage.

Spindler woman critical
        A spokeswoman at Parkview Hospital in Fort Wayne said this morning the elderly woman who suffered hypothermia when trapped in high water in her car on a rural road near Willshire, Ohio, on Wednesday evening was in critical condition at the intensive care unit.
    Margaret Louise Spindler of Hoagland was rescued by Decatur firefighters after her car was moved some 100 yards off Harrison-Willshire Rd. by the current of the water, which was up to the bottom of the windows and inside the car. Spindler was in the cold water for an undetermined amount of time.
    After being taken by ambulance to Van Wert County Hospital in Van Wert, Ohio, she was flown by helicopter to Parkview.
    
Red Cross in Jay
    The Associated Press reported this mornign that authorities in Muncie have issued a disaster declaration because of the flooding hitting east-central Indiana.
    Red Cross disaster assistance teams have been reaching out to residents affected by flooding, with volunteers traveling through affected neighborhoods in Delaware and Jay counties. They’ve been conducting disaster assessments, distributing cleanup kits and providing emergency assistance to residents.
    The Star Press says Red Cross volunteers and caseworkers also are working out of the Portland Fire Department to provide relief to victims of the flash flooding that inundated the area after heavy rains Monday.
    Jay County Emergency Management Agency Director Ralph Frazee has estimated the cost of damages there to be at least $4 million.

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