Chesterton Tribune                                                                                   Adv.

Nearly 4 inches of rain a headache for street departments and homeowners

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Nearly four inches of rain swamped Duneland in the early-morning hours today.

And according to the National Weather Service, more was on the way.

“We’ve got flooding everywhere,” Porter Public Works Director Brenda Brueckheimer told the Chesterton Tribune this morning. “The Triangle and Porter Ave. lift stations are flooded. We’ve got four vac trucks out pumping ponds and I’m on my way to the 20th Street cul-de-sac, which is totally flooded.”

Still, Brueckheimer said, at the moment no roads in her town were impassable.

Since midnight, she added, a total of 3.82 inches of rain had fallen, as measured by her rain gauge on Franklin Street.

The story was much the same in Chesterton, where the wastewater treatment plant began bypassing at 2:50 a.m. and was still bypassing at mid-morning. At 9 a.m. Town Engineer Mark O’Dell said that the plant levels were still two feet above the point at which bypassing could be terminated, although so far there’s been no backwash into the plant from the Little Calumet River.

Chief Operator Dick Condon warned folks to stay out of the water in the Little Cal, Burns Ditch, and Lake Michigan for the next couple of days, as it will take at least 24 to 48 hours for the untreated sewage in those waters to dissipate. “I’m sure we’re not the only ones bypassing,” he said.

Elsewhere in town, the Street Department had pumps working in the areas of Windridge Drive in the Tanglewood subdivision, behind the First Christian Church at 11th Street and West Porter Ave., and in particular in the alley behind Val’s Famous Pizza & Grinders at 11th Street and Broadway. The latter is the lowest point in town and was under some five feet of water at daybreak, Street Commissioner John Schnadenberg said.

There was also flooding reported in the area of Gladys and Grace lanes in the Westchester South subdivision.

In addition, a crew has been manning a vac truck at the old Dickinson Road lift station—the new upgraded one is not yet on line, O’Dell noted—and at 7 a.m. had already filled one of the two 14,000-gallon capacity Baker storage tanks at the site. And the lift station in the Rose Hill Estates subdivision was completely under water.

A few bright spots. Power was never lost, even at the height of the thunderstorm, although a brief flicker caused fire alarms at the Brassie Golf Club and St. Patrick Catholic Church to activate, Lt. Jamie Hicks of the Chesterton Fire Department said.

And the Porter County Drainage Board’s work in cleaning the Pope O’Conner, following the floods of September 2008, probably kept things from getting worse than they are in Westchester South, O’Dell noted.

A few minor weather related incidents have been reported. The CFD responded to a smoking sump pump at 4 a.m. in the 400 block of South 12th Street. Firefighters ventilated the home and cleared the scene 30 minutes later.

A resident of Morningside Drive did experience a sewage backup in his basement, O’Dell said.

And in Porter a woman woke to find the carpeting near her front door wet, the result of some improperly graded landscaping outside her home, Porter Fire Chief Lewis Craig said. “As much rain as we got and as fast as we got it, there was nowhere for the water to go.”

The Indiana State Police were reporting no flooded roadways and neither was the Porter County Highway Department.

The National Weather Service put Porter County under a flood watch this morning—after a flash flood warning for Duneland expired at 9:45 a.m.—as periods of continued heavy rains were expected throughout the day, with rainfalls of one to two inches an hour possible. Thunderstorms with quarter-size hail and wind gusts of 60 miles per hour were possible.



Posted 5/13/2010




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