Ready For a Flood Fight

By Peter Ambrose
By Scott Sarvay

May 26, 2011 Updated May 26, 2011 at 6:27 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) - Wave, after wave, after wave of storms this week is expected to bring flooding back to our area.

Fort Wayne saw nearly 3 inches of rain during Wednesday's storms. Flash floods shut down some streets, and that could be just the beginning.

The National Weather Service forecasts minor to moderate flooding along the Saint Mary's, Saint Joe and Maumee Rivers in the city for this weekend. Flood warnings are also in effect in Adams, DeKalb, Huntington and Wabash Counties.

Officials say the ground is oversaturated from all the rain this spring, and yesterday's storms didn't help.

Intense rain Wednesday caused a sleepless night for some Waynedale residents. Homeowners along Fernwood and Daleview Drives awoke to rising water from the Fairfield Ditch.

By 5 am water was into some homes in the 6600 hundred block of Fernwood and water in the street was chest deep. One elderly woman had to be assisted out of her home.

By eight o’clock homes up the street were removing belongings so they would not be destroyed by flood waters. One resident said fighting the rising tide was futile.

Resident Kelli Johnson said, “Sandbags don't do good here. It just comes back up underneath.”

Another resident Jeff Flennery said, “No, we had no idea. They’ve been keeping up with it so far but, it won't be long. Two houses down it's in the house.”

And families braved the muddy water Thursday morning as they headed out for work and school. Most took it in stride saying their friends and neighbors would pitch in to do whatever needed to be done. City pumps are running to try to stem the tide and prevent further damage.

Still others are using their experience to head off rising waters with the hope that they can keep the Fairfild Ditch at bay.

Some residents along Belle Vista Drive were awakened around 3 am to fill the gap in the levee caused by the bridge in the 2700block. By 5 am they were finished and others began sandbagging the storm drains with the knowledge that water can back up through the storm sewers, bypassing the wall of sandbags and causing street closures and damage in homes.

Resident Eric Burgess says, “You watch, I've watched water come up the drain. Leave in the morning, come home in the afternoon and the neighborhood is flooded. It's only happened once in the ten years since I've been here.”

The City of Fort Wayne is placing sand and empty bags in the parking lot of the Conservation Club at 5702 Bluffton. The sand will be available by 9:30 Thursday morning and is for residents who want sandbags to protect their property from high water. Residents will need to bring a shovel to fill the bags though.

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