Bartholomew County appears to have dodged a bullet as it was outside the path of heavy rains and flooding that caused problems Friday in the Indianapolis area.
“We really lucked out,” said Dennis Moats, director of Bartholomew County Emergency Management, who has been tracking the potential for flooding.
Only minor flooding was expected for the Driftwood River, which flows from the Edinburgh area to Mill Race Park near downtown Columbus. Officials begin watching the river when it reaches 9 feet, and it was at 10.5 feet Friday morning, Moats said. Flood stage is 11 feet.
East Fork White River was at 4.7 feet Friday morning. Flood stage is 9 feet.
Crystal Pettet, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Indianapolis, said that heavy rains north of Columbus sometimes cause flooding in Columbus as waters flow downtstream, but that should not be the case this weekend.
“The tributaries that feed into the East Fork White River are farther to the east,” Pettet said. “Some areas received 5 inches (of rain) in 24 hours, but Columbus is east and south of those areas.”
Rainfall this week ranged from about 1.5 inches in some areas of Bartholomew County on Tuesday to less than one-half inch Thursday, Pettet said.
A freeze, however, was forecast for last night and this morning when temperatures were expected to drop as low as 30 degrees.
A slightly warmer and sunnier day today with high temperatures in the low to mid-50s will be the backdrop for many outdoor community events, including Earth Day activities at the Columbus/Bartholomew County Recycling Center and Tour de Trails Run/Walk fundraiser to benefit the city’s People and Bike Trails.
MARATHON TRAIL WATCH
The potential for flooding provided an opportunity for organizers of the Sept. 28 Mill Race Marathon to monitor areas of the course that could have flooded.
Randy Stafford, a member of the marathon organizing committee, said he has been checking areas that are the most likely to flood, including Mill Race Park.
The area once used to dock paddle boats at the park is the lowest elevation of the 26.2-mile marathon course, Stafford said.
Other low areas are where the People Trails goes under the bridge near National Road and 25th Street and an area near Marr and Taylor roads. Those areas were not flooded Friday afternoon.
Stafford said the People Trails area at National Road and 25th Street runs alongside Haw Creek, and the water in that area tends to rise and fall quickly.
“We will have enough people on the course that we could divert people from that area if we needed,” he said.
If Mill Race Park or any part of the course through the park is flooded Sept. 28, a previously identified alternate route will be used.
“Hopefully, we’ll never have to use it. But if we have to, we will,” said Stafford, adding that the alternate route also will be certified.
Information about any changes to the marathon course will be provided to participants as soon as possible, Stafford said.