BY MAYOR JOE THALLEMER
WARSAW — The City of Warsaw experienced a record rainfall on Monday that is seen only once every 500 years that resulted in widespread flash flooding.
National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration data indicates that Warsaw experienced 3.74 inches of rain (measured at the Warsaw Airport) in a 60-minute period Monday afternoon. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration estimates that amount of rain falling in a one hour period occurs only once every 500 years.
By comparison, detention ponds, drains, and storm water pipes have an industry standard of protection for a one in one-hundred year rain event. Homes built in the floodplain also have to be built high enough to be protected against a one in one-hundred year event.
Monday’s rain caused flash flooding just about everywhere in the city. Manholes were dislodged from the back-pressure of an overwhelmed system. Lower elevations suffered more intense flooding. There was no way to prepare for what came. Our public works was out with barricades, cleaning up debris, and assessing damage immediately after the event.
Much of our city is built around lakes and on top of marshland which aggravates the situation. A one in five hundred year rain event simply was like pouring a bucket of water into a drinking glass. There was too much water in too short of a time frame and flash flooding occurred.
Our recently completed and current storm water projects provide vast improvements in flooding protection. We continue to concentrate on the lowest and most vulnerable areas. But Monday’s 500-year rainfall was too much for systems designed for 100-year rainfall event protection
We know the flash flooding caused major problems for many of our citizens and sympathize with those affected. We can assure you that the Storm Water utility will continue to address the local flooding concerns with priority on those most vulnerable areas and as project funding permits.
— Mayor Joe Thallemer