Water reaches flood stage


The rain-swollen waters of the East Fork White River are expected to remain above flood stage until Monday afternoon, according to the National Weather Service.

The river at Rockford, north of Seymour, has been above flood stage of 12 feet since March 29. It had been headed back down after cresting at 17.19 feet at midnight Saturday. That was until more storms swept through the area Tuesday evening.

According to the weather station at Brownstown Central High School, just 0.11 inches of rain fell Tuesday and only 1.10 inches have fallen since the first of the month on Sunday.

Areas northeast of the county, however, received larger amounts of rain, leading to the river rising again.

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At 1:45 p.m. Wednesday, the river was at 18.07 feet, and the weather service was predicting it would crest at 18.30 feet today.

That crest is just short of major flooding with numerous state and county roads covered in water, according to the weather service.

If it reaches that point, it would be tied for the 37th largest river on record. The last time the river reached 18.5 feet or higher was July 15, 2015, when it was at 19.53.

This is the third time this year the river has flooded. The river crested at 18.05 feet Feb. 25 and 12.51 feet Jan. 14.

The flooding this time, however, hadn’t created issues for many motorists with the exception of those wanting to drive around road closure barricades on State Road 258 between Seymour and Cortland, Sheriff Michael Carothers said.

County officers Rob Henley and Jesse Hutchinson spent part of Wednesday monitoring traffic in that area and cited motorists.

“We had some people driving in the grass, trying to get around the barricades until they could see they couldn’t go very far,” Carothers said. “We can’t tolerate that. When you drive around a barricade, it’s pretty obvious the road is closed.”

Although some school children in the Cortland and Freetown areas might have had problems making it to school, few other issues, including motorists stuck in floodwaters, were reported Wednesday, he said.

“It’s just a normal spring in Jackson County,” Carothers said.

Strong winds Tuesday and into Wednesday led to numerous reports of downed power lines, including one incident that left U.S. 50 closed for about 45 minutes Wednesday morning near Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge east of Seymour.

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