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Water reaches historic levels

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Some of the highest water levels ever were recorded this week along rivers and streams in Bartholomew County.

Three of the area’s five major waterways exceeded 10-year flood-event levels, while the remaining two fell just short of that benchmark, according to data released by city-county planner Jeff Bergman.

The week’s worst flooding in Bartholomew County occurred along the East Fork White River, where the river level rose almost 7 feet above flood stage Monday night. While that was 2.6 feet below the level reached in June 2008, it did go on record as the river’s sixth-highest level of flooding, Bergman said.

High water this week also closed more than a dozen roads throughout the county, including major thoroughfares, leaving a similar number of roads passable despite having some water cover them.

A section of State Road 46 known as Jonathan Moore Pike was closed between 5:30 p.m. Monday and 10 a.m. Tuesday. Although the water level dropped steadily after the East Fork White River crested, reopening of Jonathan Moore Pike was delayed Tuesday when ice covered the asphalt. Traffic from both directions of State Road 46 had been diverted onto the eastbound lanes Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning.

Similar ice problems prevented road crews from reopening Indianapolis Road, which was closed from Monday night until 9:40 a.m. Tuesday. That closing was caused by rising waters along the Flatrock River, which rose 5.5 feet above flood stages before cresting Sunday night. The water level along the Flat Rock came within 6 inches of reaching the 10-year flood stage, Bergman said.

The Driftwood River in Edinburgh also rose about 5.5 feet above flood stage before cresting Monday morning. While that level was about 9 inches above the 10-year-flood stage, it was about 3.5 feet below the record 2008 level.

Clifty Creek rose only

1.3 feet above flood stage before cresting early Sunday afternoon, about 9 inches below the 10-year level, while Haw Creek at Clifford rose 2.2 feet above flood stage before cresting early Sunday.

Motorists did have some difficulty during the height of this week’s flooding in finding alternative routes. Three sections of State Road 11 and parts of County Road 200S, Lowell Road, County Road 325W and Indianapolis Road were closed, all due to high water.

Motorists were able to get to western Bartholomew County through Monday night by using Interstate 65 from Taylorsville to State Road 46, but the freezing of the southbound exit ramps off Jonathan Moore Pike blocked that route late Monday night and most of Tuesday morning.

During that time, drivers were urged to get onto northbound I-65 at the Walesboro-Ogilville exit in order to reach State Road 46 West.

Both Second and Third Streets experienced significant traffic backups Monday and Tuesday due to the rerouting.

River flood stages

East Fork White River

Flood stage: 9 feet

Crest this week: 15.98 feet at 9:45 p.m. Monday

10-year flood stage: 15.4 feet

50-year flood stage: 18.7 feet

June 2008 crest: 18.61 feet

Haw Creek at Clifford

Flood stage: 12 feet

Crest this week: 14.26 feet at 7 a.m. Sunday

10-year flood stage: 14.6 feet

50-year flood stage: 15.4 feet

June 2008 crest: 17 feet

Clifty Creek at Columbus

Flood stage: 17 feet

Crest this week: 18.34 feet at 2:15 p.m. Sunday

10-year flood stage: 19.2 feet

50-year flood stage: 21.1 feet

June 2008 crest: 22.16 feet

Driftwood River at Edinburgh

Flood stage: 11 feet

Crest this week: 16.54 feet at 10 a.m. Monday

10-year flood stage: 15.7 feet

50-year flood stage: 17.3 feet

June 2008 crest: 20.30 feet

Flatrock River at Columbus

Flood stage: 11 feet

Crest this week: 16.54 feet at 8 p.m. Sunday

10-year flood stage: 15.6 feet

50-year flood stage: 17.4 feet

June 2008 crest: 19.9 feet

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