Statement issued late Thursday afternoon:
Mayor Tom Henry has the City prepared to deal with potential flooding because of high river levels and expected rain. The St. Marys River is rising and is expected to crest tonight. As a precaution, Mayor Henry is making sand available for residents along the Junk Ditch.
“The area along the Junk Ditch has experienced devastating floods and while we don’t expect this week’s flooding to be as severe as past years, I wanted to make sure residents had access to sand and sand bags in case they needed to protect their homes,” said Mayor Henry.
Truckloads of sand were placed in the parking lot of the Ash Centre, 1701 Freeman Street, and empty bags are available for residents to fill and take home to use for protecting their personal property. Citizens will need to bring their own shovel to fill the bags.
The Junk Ditch is a tributary of the St. Marys River. It often floods during heavy rains. An Army Corp of Engineers study determined permanent flood protection was not an option for this low lying area of the City. The City is in the process of buying properties along the Junk Ditch that have flooded repeatedly, if property owners wish to sell.
Since the 2003, flood more than 120 homes have been bought out and converted into green space. The green space is designed to hold water when it floods.
As water levels continue to rise and the National Weather Service at Fort Wayne is calling for the possibility of heavy rain through the weekend, additional precautions are also planned for the city.
City Utilities has set up nine pumps in locations around town to have them ready in case they are needed. A vacuum truck is pumping water on Tillman Road.
Stop Logs (aluminum gates that block water) were placed at Greenwood yesterday and Hartman Road near Foster Park, today.
The City has 30,000 filled sand bags on hand in anticipation of flooding. Crews are also prepared to place clay dikes along the flood prone areas of Tillman and Thieme Drive if needed.
Mayor Henry suggests that citizens in low lying areas may want to consider doing the following:
- If your basement or other storage area is prone to flooding, move items stored there into areas that are less likely to flood.
- Make sure that your sump pump or other pumps are in good working order. If they have not been used in some time, start the motor and run the pump. Make any repairs necessary. Also, check hoses to be sure they are not cracked, broken or frozen.
- Useful items to put in an easily accessible location are waterproof boots or sturdy shoes, waterproof gloves and rain gear.
- Make sure that pets are not left in an area that is likely to flood.
- River and lowland flooding may cause some roads to be closed due to high water. Motorists should never try to drive through high water. It is difficult to know how deep the water may be and currents can wash vehicles off flooded roadways and bridges. Motorists should also respect barricades. Public safety officials close roads and put up barricades to keep motorists safe. Never drive around a barricade.
- Residents should monitor local media and the City’s website. Residents can also receive weather updates from the City by going to nixle.com and registering to receive the alerts.