Hamilton County Emergency Management officials along with the Sheriff’s Office are encouraging residents to prepare for possible flooding in the next few days. The National Weather Service has issued a flood watch for Hamilton County from noon Feb. 20 through Feb. 21 and a flood warning effective Feb. 21 through Feb. 22. A wind advisory has also been issued.
Water runoff from melting snow as well as from possible heavy rains over frozen ground on Feb. 20 will lead to flooding developing along rivers and streams as well as in low lying areas and streets. Ice jams may create additional flooding as waterways become blocked as the ice breaks up. Additional snow and rain may make flooding conditions last all the way into March.
Unfilled sandbags along with sand to fill the bags will be available at 1717 Pleasant Street in Noblesville during the following hours: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Feb. 20, 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Feb. 21, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Feb. 22 and 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. (if needed).
Residents should be prepared to fill their own sandbags as there are no filled sandbags available at this time. There are plenty of bags and sand available at no cost so the public is urged to prepare for flooding before it develops. Once flooding occurs it is too late for sandbags to be of use so planning ahead is key to minimizing damage.
Hamilton County is also promoting a “Turn Around, Don’t Drown” campaign as the spring flooding season approaches. Signs are already posted around the county in locations that have been prone to flooding in the past.
Public safety officials remind citizens never to enter an area that is flooded, especially a location where barricades or other warning signage has been posted. Water depth is difficult to judge and flooding may cover other hazards such as holes or the roadbed being washed away. Make sure to have a charged cell phone available to report emergencies and flooded areas.
Other important flood reminders include:
• Six inches of water will reach the bottom of many passenger cars causing loss of control and possible stalling.
• One foot of water will float most vehicles.
• Two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles including sport utility vehicles (SUV’s) and pick-up trucks.
• As little as a few inches of running water can cause a person to loose balance.
• If you end up in water, exit your vehicle through a window and climb on top of your car. Call 911 from there and wait for help to arrive as you ride the top like a boat. Get everyone out of the vehicle and onto the roof quickly as vehicles will often float for a time before sinking.
• Do not drive around a barricade. Barricades are there for your protection. Turn around and go the other way.
• Do not try to take short cuts as they may be blocked. Stick to designated evacuation routes.
• Be especially cautious driving at night when it is harder to recognize flood dangers.