(UPDATE: Sand and bags are now available in the following locations: Kosciusko County Highway Garage in Warsaw, North Webster Community Center in North Webster, at the Winona Lake Street Department and in Syracuse. In Syracuse, those wanting to fill bags will have to register at the main office of the Public Works department on Conrad Street. Syracuse residents will be limited to 15 sandbags per household. At all locations, residents will need to bring their own shovels and fill their own bags.)
While the warmer temperatures may be welcoming, it also means the possibility of local flooding.
The National Weather Service is issuing a Flood Watch from Thursday morning through late Thursday night for Kosciusko and surrounding counties including Elkhart, Marshall, Fulton, Noble, Wabash and Lagrange among others.
With today’s temperatures topping out at 42 degrees and tomorrow’s forecast calling for a high of 52 and possible strong thunderstorms, snow will continue to melt and fill area lakes, ponds, streams and rivers. Rainfall amounts of between a half inch and one inch will combine with approximately 3 feet of existing snow which, according to Kosciusko County Emergency Management Director Ed Rock, is already having some people taking proactive actions.
Rock said there has been lots of activity at the county highway garage today where sandbags and sand are available for residents to fill. Sand and bags are also available in North Webster at the community center where, again, residents will need to bring their own shovels to fill sandbags and provide their own manpower and transport.
The town of Syracuse has requested 1,000 sandbags for its residents, but town manager Henry Dejulia told StaceyPageOnline.com that they have not yet decided how the bags will be distributed, where they will be available, or if the town will provide sand. Those details will be announced tomorrow and posted on this website.
A log jam removal project got underway last year on the Tippecanoe River that is expected to help alleviate some of the local flooding issues that have occurred in past year. However, Rock said the extreme cold temperatures and excessive snow halted removal efforts over the winter. In short, “The project was delayed so it has not been completed enough that I can feel confident it will help” lessen any local flooding, he explained.
The log jam removal efforts began in the extreme southwest part of the county, but the lakes are largely located in the extreme northeast part of the county. “There’s still a lot of log jams in between,” noted Rock. He said approximately 20 to 30 log jams had been removed before the weather deteriorated, but with high winds also experienced in the past few months, there could be more downed trees in the river.
Adding to the potential problems of the melting snow and rain is that many storm drains and even downspouts on homes may still be blocked from snow and ice. In addition to flooding, homes and other structures may experience water damage.
A Flood Watch means there is a potential for flooding based on current forecasts.