You choose, we deliver
If you are interested in this story, you might be interested in others from The Journal Gazette. Go to www.journalgazette.net/newsletter and pick the subjects you care most about. We'll deliver your customized daily news report at 3 a.m. Fort Wayne time, right to your email.

Local

Advertisement
Closures
Streets closed in Fort Wayne because of high water Saturday afternoon:
Taylor Street between Portage Boulevard and Freeman Street
Lake Avenue at Reed Road
Hanna Street at Wallace Street
June Flooding

Between four to six inches of rain dumped by overnight storms caused severe flash flooding in Fort Wayne, Ind., on Saturday, June 1, 2013.

Photos by Chad Ryan | The Journal Gazette
Fort Wayne firefighters Jerry Shultz, left, and Brian Sorgen help Karen Hudda wade through the floodwaters in front of her West State Boulevard home on Saturday after storms dumped several inches of rain overnight, causing flash flooding.

Deluge cuts off parts of city

Flash floods displace many, close zoo, Science Central

Members of the Fort Wayne Fire Department water rescue team evacuate residents of houses along Eastbrook Drive on Saturday.

Driving down Taylor Street near Ardmore Avenue, Chris Choates came to a complete stop.

The 35-year-old from Fort Wayne got out of the car, grabbed a cellphone from his pocket and commenced shooting footage of the road where he was forced to do an about-face.

“This sucks,” Choates said Saturday. “I’m taking pictures because I was running an errand and I’m going to be late. I want to take back evidence to show my girl that I wasn’t lying about how high the water was.”

The National Weather Service could have backed up his story.

In some places, more than 5 inches of rain fell during an eight- to nine-hour period late Friday and early Saturday.

City firefighters had to evacuate residents from streets, homes and at least one apartment complex. Dozens of streets had high water, and the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo and Science Central had to close for the day.

“Our crews have been out all night helping people get out of their vehicles that are stranded in high water, out of their homes with high water and helping to shut off gas and electric,” Jim Murua, Fort Wayne Fire Department assistant chief, said Saturday morning.

Murua said firefighters assisted with a little bit of everything. The north and northeast sections of the city seemed to be the busiest areas for rescue crews, he said.

The Red Cross helped residents of Black Bear Creek Apartments on Reed Road who had to be evacuated from their homes, Murua said.

Indiana Michigan Power estimated that about 160 Allen County customers were without power Saturday morning. The power was later restored.

The good news is that raindrops will stop falling on our heads, said Evan Bentley, a meteorologist with the weather service.

“Things should start drying out starting (today) and should be that way through the first half of the week,” he said.

The Maumee and St. Joseph rivers can expect light to moderate flooding during that time, Bentley said.

On Saturday, though, there was nothing light or moderate about flooding near Kimberley Moore’s Spy Run Creek neighborhood. Record flooding in the area brought the community to a soggy standstill.

“Nobody’s doing anything today or going anywhere – we can’t,” said Moore, leaning on her front porch railing and eyeing the creek waters that reached her concrete steps. “This is the worst I’ve seen it in 23 years. Our house is up on a hill, so my basement just had a little water come in.”

Her neighbors, she suspects, didn’t fare as well.

“The city has made some improvements along State Street to prevent flooding, … but looks like they have a ways to go.”

Bentley said Spy Run Creek rose slightly above 14 feet three years ago, but Friday night and Saturday morning’s rains easily broke that record by a foot.

Speaking of feet, 17-year-old Allen Van Wormer tiptoed barefoot in ankle-high water to toss a couple of bags of trash into the bin at Wildwood Place Apartments on Portage Boulevard.

“I was going over to a friend’s house to hang out,” Van Wormer said. “We can’t get to him, but he has a big truck so we might still hang out if he comes and gets us.”

Wildwood Place borders Taylor and Freeman streets, both of which had heavy flooding, but many of the apartment complex’s residents weren’t flooded in.

That’s not to say it was business as usual, though.

Martha George, 72, slowly crept across a lawn near her apartment to see whether a neighbor was still having a yard sale.

“I don’t think so,” she said, gingerly walking back to her home. “I guess she’ll have to postpone it.”

Other activities were all wet on Saturday as well.

“We brought the grandkids down from South Bend to visit Science Central, but we’re having a hard time getting to it with all of the flooded streets,” said Wayne Kneppler, who sought directions from a passer-by. “I hope it’ll be open.”

It wasn’t. Science Central officials released a statement saying that the flooding of Spy Run Creek made access impossible. The education fun center hoped to reopen today.

Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo officials said pretty much the same as flooding left it without power.

Chris VanderReyden, the zoo’s entrance supervisor, said some animals had to be moved from their exhibit areas.

Officials expect the zoo to reopen today.

Moore said some of her neighbors typically break out their kayaks when Spy Run Creek floods – but not this weekend.

“It’s never been this high,” she said. “Everybody is kind of freaked.”

pwyche@jg.net

Julie Crothers of The Journal Gazette contributed to this report.

Advertisement