Emergency Management continues to monitor flood conditions

Bartholomew County Emergency Management officials began checking heavily flooded areas around the county Friday afternoon, while continuing to monitor area river levels that continued to fall throughout the day.

Life returned to somewhat normal in Columbus on Friday after the area was deluged with 2 to 4 inches of rain that fell on already saturated ground and immediately began filling the area’s low-lying areas. There were isolated reports that parts of Bartholomew County logged 5 inches of rain from Tuesday night through Thursday.

Although no serious injuries have been reported, first responders were dealing with two emergencies late Thursday into early Friday morning, said Shannan Hinton, Bartholomew County Emergency Management director.

At about 2:30 a.m. Friday, Columbus police began evacuating the area of 10th and Iowa streets near the Greenbelt Golf Course after water poured into a low-lying area on 10th, inundating about 15 to 20 homes in the area.

Farley Sayer, who lives on 10th St., said he was unaware that the area was flooding until a Columbus police officer knocked on his door and said they needed to evacuate the area. Sayer’s car, and his son’s, had already been flooded, and his basement was rapidly filling with water, but he stayed at the home, he said.

A Columbus Department of Public Works truck was working to pump water out of the area on Friday afternoon, he said.

Sayer estimated he still had about a foot of water in the basement on Friday afternoon.

The American Red Cross has been called in to assist families in that area, Hinton said.

Earlier in the evening, Columbus firefighters were carefully dealing with a tenuous situation on the city’s west side when 60 residents at GreenTree at Westwood Senior Living, 4895 Pine Ridge Drive, were evacuated at 6 p.m. Thursday and sent with family members after a threat of flooding.

Columbus firefighters and city Department of Public Works crews cleared drains near the senior living facility and pumped water out of the area for four hours from an overflow ditch, where the dirt was nearly failing, causing water to flow toward GreenTree.

City crews were working to prevent the ditch from failing, which would have caused water from the overflow, and potentially the retention pond, to flow toward Greentree and flood the facility.

“GreenTree at Westwood Senior Living wants to express its deep gratitude to the city of Columbus Fire Department for their perseverance in preventing floodwaters from penetrating our community. The safety and security of our residents is always our top priority and we’re pleased to report that all of our residents have returned after spending the night with family and friends,” said Vicky Colson, GreenTree executive director.

Friday morning, the water in a retention pond for the neighboring Westwood Pine Apartments had lowered, as had the level of water in the overflow, and there was no water surrounding GreenTree.

Residents returned to their apartments there on Friday morning, staff members said. No injuries were reported.

For more on the continuing flood conditions, see Saturday’s Republic.