FORT WAYNE – Heavy rain caused flash flooding across northeast Indiana, with some residents in Fort Wayne's Ferndale neighborhood having to be evacuated by boat.
Massive thunderstorms dumped huge amounts of rain on the area overnight, which prompted city of Fort Wayne officials to prepare for flooding, even though the National Weather Service had not forecast rivers spilling out of their banks, said Pubic Works Director Bob Kennedy Friday morning.
Kennedy said crews were on standby all night and observers were placed in areas known to flood. In addition, pumps were stationed throughout the city, pumping out storm sewers to make more room for rainwater.
By 2:35 p.m., high water covering State Boulevard had receded and was opened to traffic.
Kennedy said crews pumped in the Ferndale neighborhood, on the city's south side, all night long, but it wasn't enough to stop flooding from the swollen Fairfield Ditch that runs behind the homes there.
About a dozen homes near Fernwood Avenue and Dalevue Drive were surrounded by water, with several of them flooded.
Fort Wayne Fire Department crews were called out at 7:26 a.m. by a resident on Dalevue who needed assistance getting out of her home. Firefighters used boats to help that person and those in two other homes, spokesperson Stacey Fleming said.
Around 10:30 a.m., Animal Control officers rescued two dogs that were in a flooded yard there.
Mike Kinder, who lives at the corner of Fernwood and Dalevue, was out of town Thursday but had a feeling there would be flooding. He arrived home Friday morning to find the water one inch from coming into his house.
"I put everything up off the floor and tried to save a few things," he said. "Hopefully it won't come up any more."
As he spoke, another neighbor shouted curses at the water, while garbage carts and recycling bins bobbed nearby.
City crews dropped off sand and bags in the parking lot at Bradbury Avenue and Broadripple Drive for anyone who needs them.
Flooding along Spy Run Creek flooded State Boulevard, surrounded homes and made streets in the area impassable, but the water crested at 8 a.m. and was falling slowly.
Some homes were surrounded in the Junk Ditch area Friday morning, but the water appeared to be cresting as the water slowly drained into the St. Marys River. The St. Marys crested Friday morning just a few inches short of flood stage.
The Maumee River rose about 10 feet in 24 hours, and was at 20.3 feet at 11 a.m. Friday, 3 feet over flood stage. The neighborhoods along the Maumee in Fort Wayne are protected by levees, but downstream in Riverhaven the river had already closed several roads and was approaching homes.
It is forecast to crest at 23 feet on Saturday, which would put at least a half-dozen Riverhaven homes in danger.
In Huntington, the Little River was approaching record levels Friday morning after shooting up nearly 15 feet in just over 20 hours.
The Huntington Mayor's Office said it was causing significant flooding in several neighborhoods in the south side of the town, though water was beginning to recede. Public safety crews were going door to door to assist affected residents, and sandbags are available at Hiers park off Evergreen Road.
Residents needing medical assistance or housing assistance should contact the combined dispatch at 260-356-7110, officials said.
For more on this story see Saturday's print edition of The Journal Gazette or return to www.journalgazette.net.