This blog reports events and interesting tidbits from Rensselaer, Indiana and the surrounding area.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The reign of water

The river is at or very near record levels. It started setting daily records on Tuesday, but today it is not just setting records for the day but may be setting records since measurement began. If there is no more rain, it looks like the river will crest at about 16.5 feet. The river has been above flood stage (12 feet) for ten days. How much longer will it be before it slips below the 12 level?
 This may look like some people playing in the river, but it is two USGS employees measuring the river flow. They are the people who created the red stars in the graph above.
 The water is almost to the floor of Ayda's. The restaurant is closed today.
 On the other side of the water people were sandbagging the two houses closest to the river. This morning the Sheriff announced that free sandbags were available at the county highway garage on SR 114. He also announced that US 231 was closed north of Rensselaer.
 Backyards next to the river were flooded. Ordinary slides were turned into water slides.
 LaRue Pool had a lake today. The good news is that the water is no longer flowing over the road. The bad news is that the water is still over the road because the river has risen so high that it has backed up the creek. This is the level of the river.

Do you know what the little white or yellow thing is near the center of the picture?
It is the top of the fire hydrant on the corner of Lincoln and Elza.

Below is a truck delivering sandbags for the people living in the house just north of the College Street Bridge. While I was watching this, a school bus pulled up and stopped at the intersection of Lincoln and College. The driver look befuddled, so I pulled up next to the bus. He wanted to get to SJC. I explained to him how he could take Front Street to the highway and bypass the closed road. I suspect a lot of people are being surprised by closed roads.
Below is a picture of Potawatomie Park from the bowstring arch bridge.
 There are still a few inches of clearance under the Washington Street Bridge.
 You may think that you are not affected by the sandbagging. You may be wrong. City workers placed sandbags around the electrical box for the water treatment plant in Iroquois Park. If the plant lost electricity, we could still get water as long as there was water in the water tanks. After that, I am not sure.
 The park department headquarters building in Iroquois Park is isolated--to reach it requires driving on a road that is several inches--maybe a foot--under water.

The gas department was busy today shutting off gas to houses that were flooding.

Below is the water going under the Melville Street Bridge. I wanted to get a picture showing how much clearance there was, but there was too much water to get the picture I wanted.
I was able to find a vantage point that let me peer under the Grace Street Bridge.
Busy Bee is prepared for more water.
The river seems to be as high as it was in the 2003 flood, but the situation in Rensselaer is not as bad. My guess is that in 2003 Rensselaer got a lot more rain. This year the rain was heaviest to our north and east and the rise in the river is reflecting that heavy rain upstream.

What is really scary about our situation is that we may get several more inches of rain in the next few days. This morning Rensselaer got about a quarter or a third of an inch of rain. That little bit caused seepage in my basement, showing that the ground is saturated. I do not even want to think what a big downpour would do. I just hope I do not get the opportunity to write a post about it. I would much rather write about the receding water.

1 comment:

Sarah Osterfeld said...

That doesn't look nearly as bad in 2003. That summer, I remember people were able to take small fishing boats and canoes float/drive around Washington Street near Busy Bee and other parts of town. And there was also problem with coffins and very loose soil at the Weston Cemetery. I took my bike (where it was still safe to bike) and took photographs of the whole town in 2003.