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April 4, 2014

IN DEEP WATERS: Flooding closes roads, schools, leads to water rescue, headaches

> SOUTHERN INDIANA — Phones rang early and often for area emergency responders Friday after heavy rains led to problems in Southern Indiana.

“Since we started this morning at 4 a.m., we have had 14 water rescues,” said Clark County Sheriff’s Deputy Chief Brian Meyer on Friday. “Fourteen water rescues is unusually high.”

Meyer was one of many area officials and residents who dealt with the effects of two days of rain, with totals reaching 6 inches in some parts of Clark County. The high water closed schools and numerous roads Friday.


Meyer said none of the calls he received Friday resulted in serious injuries, and most were for stalled motorists.

One such instance happened just before noon, when emergency personnel responded to an incident involving a motorist losing control of a box truck that entered high water along Ebeneezer Church Road, near intersecting Columbus-Mann Road, southwest of Memphis. Hours later, the box truck remained on the water-covered road, lights on and windshield wipers active.

Melanie Conklin, who lives nearby, said there was flooding around her home on Crone Road.

“It looks like there was a lake where there never was before,” Conklin said.

The flooding from Silver Creek started just past Bennettsville Road and extended about a mile down Ebeneezer Church Road, she said.

Conklin said she isn’t completely marooned in her house — there’s another way out — but she didn’t venture that way Friday.

“I didn’t want to get in all that mess,” she said.

County Engineer Brian Dixon said he was in touch with County Operations Manager Jim Ross, who Dixon said was out in the field handling problem areas.

“There are various things going on where we’re trying to get the water [cleared], keep the road clean, make sure people aren’t on the roads,” Dixon said. “And then we’re also scraping off debris and stuff like that as the water goes down, and then we’ll assess if there are any damaging issues on the roads or bridges, and we’ll make those decisions at that time.”

The county’s road and bridge crews were proactive to prevent lingering damage issues, Dixon said.

“If you have a damaged road or a damaged bridge, we are going to do what we’ve got to do to fix it to get it open and make sure that it’s safe,” Dixon said. “In other words, I’m not going to allow bridges to be jeopardized, and sit and wait for someone to make a decision on whether or not we’re going to work on them. We’re going to work to fix it if it needs to be fixed.”

In Clarksville, the storm affected the city in much the same way any heavy rains would, said town Engineer Tom Clevidence.

“It’s just some street flooding, mostly,” Clevidence said. “That’s all I’m aware of at this point. I think there may be some other issues where maybe some cars got flooded. I haven’t really had anything reported to me other than a few people complaining about water getting into their homes, but I’m not really sure how it got there yet.”

Additionally, Clarksville Parks and Recreation Department canceled opening day baseball games set for today, April 5, at its Little League Complex because of area flooding. Games have not yet been rescheduled. Updates will be announced on

Although Jeffersonville didn’t have nearly as many rain-related issues as other parts of Clark County, two flooded roads — Salem-Noble and Brookhollow — caused blocked entrances into some city neighborhoods.

Jeffersonville Mayor Mike Moore said that about a 10- or 15-foot stretch of Salem-Noble Road was completely washed away after being submerged in six or so feet of water and was impassable for several hours.

“It is causing a severe problem,” he said.

The county road feeds into Whispering Oaks II subdivision, a neighborhood that was annexed into Jeffersonville. The city of Jeffersonville and Clark County officials worked together to repair the road so that residents could have access in and out of the area.

In anticipation of heavy rainfall, city fire trucks parked inside Whispering Oaks II and used the clubhouse as a temporary fire station in case of any emergencies.

Len Ashack, director of the Jeffersonville Wastewater Department, said several combined sewers overflowed into the Ohio River.

Sewers on Graham, Mechanic,  Walnut, Wall and Spring streets and Meigs Avenue flooded.

He also said that the 10th Street pump station overflowed into Clarksville.

Jeffersonville City Engineer Andy Crouch did not return phone calls before press deadline.

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