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The Journal Gazette

  • A man drives through the flooded intersection Tuesday at Executive Boulevard and Directors Row. (Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette)

  • Heavy rain caused flooding in the parking lot of the Ivy Tech North Campus on Tuesday. Classes at the campus were canceled due to flooding. (Courtesy)

  • Tom Ransom, with Fort Wayne Parks, mows along the fence line at Camp Canine Tuesday afternoon. (Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette)

  • A woman drives her minivan through the intersection of Executive Boulevard and Directors Row Tuesday afternoon. (Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette)

  • Cars stalls out after driving through high water at The Marketplace of Canterbury in front of Piere's Entertainment Center during Tuesday's downpour.(Cathie Rowand | The Journal Gazette)

  • Fort Wayne recieved 3 inches Tuesday. (Cathie Rowand | The Journal Gazette)

Wednesday, August 30, 2017 1:00 am

City's record rainfall leads to disruptions


Two funnel clouds were briefly sighted near Hicksville, Ohio, about 4 p.m., the Defiance County sheriff's department reported.

The funnel clouds did not touch down and no damage was reported, the National Weather Service said.

Funnel clouds that form in light winds such as Tuesday's are typically brief, rarely touch down and cause little or no damage when they do, the weather service said.

If you see a funnel cloud approaching you, you should move indoors for your protection, the weather service said.

Thunderstorms and heavy rain brought power outages, flooded roads and intersections, lightning-sparked fires and canceled classes at Ivy Tech's North Campus on Tuesday morning, while commuters faced circuitous or congested routes to work or school.

National Weather Service spotters in the Fort Wayne area reported between 2.64 and 4.70 inches of rain fell between about 7 and 11 a.m. The weather service issued flash flood warnings for downtown Fort Wayne and the Leo-Cedarville, Grabill area in northeast Allen County about 8:30 a.m., urging motorists not to drive through ponding water.

The 2.06 inches that fell at Fort Wayne International Airport set a record for Aug.  29, eclipsing the old record of 1.16 inches set on the date in 1977.

Power outages affected multiple buildings in East Allen County Schools and Central Lutheran School in New Haven. Glenbrook Square also went dark for a time.

Meanwhile, three fires sparked by lighting were reported within several minutes between 7:15 and 8 a.m. in southwest Allen County.

The Aboite Township Fire Department responded to a fire believed to be related to lightning that destroyed a barn and its stored hay at 14999 Bass Road on the road's Arcola side, a township fire official said.

The department also responded to calls at 1515 Rock Dove Road in Bridgewater, which had minor exterior damage, and 503 Golfway Drive in Chestnut Hills, which emitted a burning smell. Lightning was believed related to both incidents.

A fire at Canterbury Green Apartments in Fort Wayne was reported shortly before 9 a.m., but the cause remained under investigation, fire officials said.

Tracy Warner, spokesman for Indiana Michigan Power, said the Glenbrook power outage was caused by a tripped circuit breaker at a substation near the mall that may have malfunctioned after a lightning strike. Power was out between 8:30 and 9  a.m., he said.

The mall opened on time, general manager Brian Cote said. 

About 3,300 customers in New Haven were without power beginning about 8 a.m., Warner said. Power was restored shortly before noon, he said, adding he could not say if the outage was caused by the weather. 

East Allen County Schools didn't dismiss students at affected schools, but  they were excused if their parents picked them up, spokeswoman Tamyra Kelly said in an email.

However, Ivy Tech's North Campus canceled Tuesday classes because of flooding. 

Water seeped into the Student Life Center, the Technology Center and Harshman Hall, said Jaclyn Garver, spokeswoman. The water wasn't deep, but it extended into some hallways past the entrances, she said.

Ivy Tech used a text-alert system to notify students about the closure, which also resulted in most employees being sent home, Garver said. Exceptions were security and facilities workers and the school's leadership employees.

Ivy Tech's Coliseum and South campuses remained open, but the Student Life Center, the bookstore and the basement of Harshman Hall will be closed through the end of the week and classes scheduled there will be moved, according to Ivy Tech officials.

IPFW also experienced flooding, but it did not affect classes or other campus activities, spokeswoman Kimberly Wagner said in an email. Some water came into the Helmke Library basement, and high water was reported in the lower level of parking garage 2, and both areas were vacated, according to Wagner.

Drivers and school buses found they needed to skirt water problems with ponding water.

One area hit by flooding was near the 4500 block of Executive Boulevard near Coliseum Boulevard West, and police closed Goshen Road in the 2800 block just east of Independence Drive because of a flooded railroad underpass. 

At Fort Wayne Community Schools, the weather created busing delays for the high schools, spokeswoman Krista Stockman said in an email.

“The late buses would be caused in large part by flash flooding of roadways, which requires finding alternate routes and other traffic issues,” she said.

Frank Suarez, Fort Wayne public works spokesman, said lightning strikes also caused 26 traffic signals to lose power. Most were between Lima and Coldwater roads and Coliseum Boulevard West, he said.

Traffic snarled in both directions on both roads as a result. As of late Tuesday afternoon, power had been restored to all but one of the affected signals, Suarez said.

Suarez said a rain gauge near Lima Road showed 3.2 inches of rain fell between 7:15 and 11:15 a.m., with about 2.66 inches occurring between 8 and 9 a.m.

The area near Mayhew Road north of Interstate 469 received 4.06 inches over a four-hour period, Suarez added.

National Weather Service spotters reported the highest rain total – 4.7 inches – four miles south/southwest of Wallen. Nearly 4.5 inches were reported to have fallen between midnight and noon by a spotter 4 miles north/northwest of New Haven.

The average rainfall for the entire month of August in Fort Wayne is 3.62 inches, according to the weather service.

Nonetheless, Fort Wayne's three rivers were reported well under flood stage, Suarez said. “This is flash flooding, not river flooding,” he said.