River’s edge higher around Columbus

Area rivers crept even higher over flood stage Tuesday, prompting the National Weather Service to warn that floodwaters in the Columbus area may not reach their highest point until today.

The East Fork White River was 2.3 feet above its 9-foot flood stage Tuesday afternoon, pouring into Mill Race Park. Entrances to the park were closed Monday and remained closed on Tuesday.

The Flatrock River was just over the 11-foot flood stage at 12.42 feet on Tuesday. The Driftwood River near Edinburgh was measuring at just over 14 feet. Flood stage is 11 feet.

Columbus Police closed State Road 11 about a half mile south of State Road 46 after about 6 inches of water was reported flowing across the roadway at 5 p.m. Tuesday. Officers blocked the roadway while waiting for state highway crews to arrive.

Bartholomew County Emergency Management Director Dennis Moats said water was continuing to rise across several farm fields toward the neighborhoods near the Bartholomew County Fairgrounds.

North of Columbus, near the Columbus Municipal Airport, County Road 400N was closed near River Road to U.S. 31 because of high water.

“We getting off pretty easy this round,” Moats said.

Many of the rivers north of Columbus have started to recede, he added.

The National Weather Service indicated the rivers will reach their highest levels sometime this morning and start to recede by tonight or Thursday morning, Moats said.

Water rescue crews and equipment in the city and county have been put on standby, but so far no reports of trapped residents or significant property damage had been received, according to Columbus Fire Department Station 1 Battalion Chief Mark Ziegler.

Along County Road 400N, Columbus Township Fire Department Firefighter Charlie Campbell looked at the flooding, where water appeared to have moved recently cut trees and brush into the roadway. A 50- to 60-foot stretch of the road remained underwater and closed to traffic.

Columbus Parks Director Mark Jones said the flooding at Mill Race Park is something the city experiences two or three times a year, and many times the damage looks worse than it actually is.

Jones said he had looked at a few photos, and the images seemed similar to what the park usually experiences during heavy rain.

After the East Fork White River crests, which could come as early as this morning, Jones estimated parks crews could get into Mill Race early next week to assess damage and begin cleanup.

“We just need to wait on Mother Nature,” he said.

Closed roads
  • County Road 800S near Jonesville Road
  • County Road 400N between River Road and U.S. 31
  • County Road 150E near Southern Crossing
  • County Road 900N near County Road 300E
  • Southern Crossing (County Roads 400S and 450S from State Road 11 to County Road 250E)