[The Brazil Times nameplate] Light Rain Fog/Mist ~ 51°F  
High: 58°F ~ Low: 44°F
Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Major flood hits county, damages many roads

Sunday, June 8, 2008

NOTE: Readers can view a photo gallery of the flood damage by visiting www.thebraziltimes.com/gallery/june08flo....

Clay County Sheriff Mike Heaton looks over the extensive damage to County Road 200 South, between CR 500 W and 425 W. Massive flood waters caused 100 feet of the road to collapse and pushed the culvert into the woods. Courtesy Photo.
The rain came down, water went up and roads throughout Clay County shut down this weekend.

Dispatchers at the Clay County Justice Center and the Brazil City Police Department started fielding phone calls from motorists reporting high water on area roads while on their way to work around 4-5 a.m.

An overnight storm front dumped 4-11 inches of rain on the area before the sun came up Saturday

Around 6 a.m., damage reports started coming in, and emergency response personnel were sent out.

"I don't think anyone realized how bad it was until it got daylight outside," Clay County Sheriff Mike Heaton said. "We've had heavy rain before, but nothing quite like this."

After early assessments and many county and city roads closed due to high water, the Clay County Commissioners and Brazil Mayor Ann Bradshaw issued State of Emergency announcements, virtually closing down roads throughout the county. The county lifted its state of emergency around 4:30 p.m., Sunday to allow residents to use the majority of county roads.

Flood water covering portions of Interstate-70, near the 30-mile marker forces a semi tractor-trailer off the road. Courtesy Photo.
After a portion of the westbound lane of Interstate-70 was flooded near the Cloverdale exit and all four lanes of the highway were covered in water at the 30-mile marker, the Indiana Department of Transportation closed the road.

Traffic was diverted to United States 40, and into Brazil.

"We're getting traffic from I-70 and there is no place to send them," Clay County Emergency Director Bryan Husband told The Brazil Times. "Unless it is an emergency, people need to stay home."

But many residents ignored the warnings and went sightseeing anyway.

"This is so cool," a group of teenagers wading through high water covering one intersection yelled out as their picture was taken by a Times photographer. "Look, it's up past our waists."

The desire to see potential history in the making is understandable, but officials can't stress safety issues enough.

As a result of Saturday's flood, this portion of West Ridge Street, between South Walnut and Franklin Streets, is badly damaged and closed until repairs can be completed. Ivy Jackson Photo.
"I know it's cool to see, but it's just not safe out there," Clay County Commissioner Charlie Brown said. "This is a once-and-a-lifetime event, and people have a right to see what's happening, but this is a serious situation and 'gawkers' just get in the way."

Officials agree that no one should attempt to play or drive in high water, because the force of moving water in a flood is dangerous.

"There wasn't much water crossing the road on I-70 at the 30-mile marker, but it was enough to push a semi off the road," Heaton said. "There's a 100-foot section of the road missing on County Road 200 South, between CR 500 and 425 West. The water went through there with so much force it pushed the culvert out from under the road and into the woods."

Law enforcement officers and volunteer firefighters worked the areas of congested traffic throughout the county because of I-70 closing.

INDOT employees worked through the night to make emergency repairs to the erosion damage in the westbound lane at the 30-mile marker of I-70 in hopes of opening the road Sunday afternoon, which it did open briefly, but was closed again because the asphalt collapsed again due to flooding.

According to officials at the Indiana State Police, the opening of I-70 is now undetermined, but a substantial delay is again expected. Repair work is scheduled to begin early this morning.

The eastbound lane of I-70 is open to traffic.

Traffic will continue to be detoured through Brazil where it will continue south to I-70 west. The Brazil Times received reports that it was taking more than an hour to travel to the intersection of State Road 59 and US 40, from in front of Great Dane.

Motorists are urged to find alternate routes around Brazil to help alleviate some of the congestion within the city until I-70 is reopened in both directions.

Even with the high water, flooding and dangerous road conditions, there have been no reports of injuries as of press time.

"Things went smoothly out there this weekend," Heaton said. "People were out sightseeing, but they used caution."

Note: The nature of the Internet makes it impractical for our staff to review every comment. If you feel that a comment is offensive, please Login or Create an account first, and then you will be able to flag a comment as objectionable. Please also note that those who post comments on thebraziltimes.com may do so using a screen name, which may or may not reflect a website user's actual name. Readers should be careful not to assign comments to real people who may have names similar to screen names. Refrain from obscenity in your comments, and to keep discussions civil, don't say anything in a way your grandmother would be ashamed to read.

-- Posted by littleman2 on Mon, Jun 9, 2008, at 10:52 AM

"This is a once in a lifetime event"...uh, NO! "We've had heavy rain before, but nothing quite like this"...c'mon, where were you 15 years ago.

Yes, we've had flooding like this before, as a matter of fact worse! The overall damage may be greater this time, but the water level was higher back on the morning of Aug. the 17th, 1993. I don't know how anybody that lived in this town or county back then, can now say this is unprecedented?

By the way, not only are Commissioner Brown and Sheriff Heaton wrong, but so were the climatologist who told homeowners on the newly established "flood plain" back in 1993 that that was a once-in-a-hundred-year flood, well I guess it was a once-in-a-fifteen-year flood.

Shame, on all local and state officials who have dragged their collective feet for fifteen years for not getting the retention pond installed as promised to us just off of Murphy Avenue. This was not going to be a miracle cure, but if it just kept the water level just one single inch lower, it would have stayed out of my house.

And shame on the gawkers who were driving through my flooded neighborhood, creating waves that drove the water further and deeper into my house. I wish I had gotten your license plate number!

Now I have ruined floors. Just imagine what your house would smell like with water, with sewage in it, satures your carpet and pad underneath that probably will never dry.

My heart goes out to those who are worse off than me and those who have damage such as my that my seem mild at first glance, but really makes your house unlivable anyway.

-- Posted by ClayCountyGuy on Mon, Jun 9, 2008, at 11:43 AM

ClayCountyGuy- I was working the morning the 1993 storm came through, there may have been more water in the Brazil area, but the rest of the county, especially the southern portion, was not effected the way it was this time. The overall county was effected much more this time than in 1993. You need to remember that there is still about 23 miles of Clay County that is south of Brazil.

-- Posted by Unsolicited opinion on Mon, Jun 9, 2008, at 8:33 PM

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: