The latest potential flood outlook for counties in northern Indiana and southern lower Michigan has been released by the National Weather Service of Northern Indiana, indicating an increased risk of flooding later this week. Several factors will play a part in the possibly flooding, officials say, as widespread snow and ice contain a large quantity of stored water.
The National Weather Service expects warmer temperatures by Thursday, acting to increase the rate of melting snow. With moderate to heavy rainfall also possible Thursday, this combination atop the frozen ground may lead to a heightened potential for flooding in low lying areas such as basements, small streams and creeks. Significant rises along major stem rivers could follow.
These conditions will lead to potential for break up and downstream movement of thick ice on rivers that would increase the risk for ice jams to develop and increase flooding potential.
Pulaski County EMA Director Larry Hoover said this is just a possibility.
“It’s too early to tell. There’s always the chance for flooding; a lot of it is going to depend upon towards the end of the week, they’re talking about a thunderstorm, and how much rain we get and what that means as far as run-off,” said Hoover.
Hoover said the sub-freezing temperatures are actually beneficial right now, as they prevent the snow and ice from melting and running off.
“Right now, the good thing about it getting below freezing at night is that’s going to slow some of the run-off down, and because there is a huge amount of water out there with all the snow cover and everything we have. Hopefully it will be a slow warm-up and not turn into 60-degree days and rain for a while,” said Hoover.
He said if the temperature goes up too fast, the frost line is so high that the run-off won’t be absorbed into the ground. Hoover said the weather service believes the rainfall equivalent of the amount of snow on the ground is about three-and-a-half inches of rain.
“So if we get a warm-up, it’s like we suddenly got a three-and-a-half-inch rain overnight, so the risk is pretty substantial but, like I said, with it keeping right now, the projected forecast is it’s supposed to be below freezing every night so that should slow down the amount,” Hoover said.
For those who live in a flood-prone area, Hoover suggests getting belongings off the floor. He said sandbags can be put near your door if you live near the river and fear flooding; the sandbags can be provided by the EMA department. Also, he recommends disabling electrical outlets near the floor.