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Wet weekend ahead for Fort Wayne area

Friday, February 21, 2014 - 10:48 am

Fort Wayne opened two fill-yourself sandbag sites Thursday as northeast Indiana experienced rainfall and high temperatures leading to snow melt. However, snow could return early Saturday morning.

Fort Wayne's three rivers were rising, and the National Weather Service issued a warning about minor flooding until further notice for the St. Marys near Decatur. The weather service forecast the river to rise above its 17-foot flood stage tonight and to crest near 18.7 feet around 1 a.m. Sunday.

However, the rivers in Fort Wayne didn't appear to be predicted to rise into minor flooding stage. The St. Marys was at 8.28 feet at 7 a.m. today, below the 12-foot action stage. The Maumee in Fort Wayne was at 9.36 feet and expected to reach 14 feet Saturday evening, 3 feet below minor flooding stage. The St. Joseph near Fort Wayne was at 8.7 feet and could reach 10.8 feet, also below its 12-foot minor flooding stage.

Fort Wayne International Airport reported at 7 a.m. today that 0.95 inch of rain fell in the previous 12 hours. Thunderstorms rolled through the city Thursday night after rain fell throughout the day, which had a high of 49 degrees. The area was also under a wind advisory with gusts around 45 mph and higher expected today. The area has a 30 percent chance of snow tonight, and a slight chance Saturday and Sunday mornings.

The potential for flooding caused Auburn to open a sandbag filling station Thursday afternoon at its street department, 101 E. Ensley Ave (Door No. 2). City staff can assist when possible, but residents should bring a shovel and a way to fill and transport the sandbags. Sand and sandbags will be provided free of charge.

The same goes for Fort Wayne, which set up filling stations at Northside Park's parking lot, Parnell Avenue near State Boulevard and the Ash Centre parking lot, 1701 Freeman St. Allen County has sandbag filling stations at its highway department's salt storage units at 2234 Carroll Road and 8317 E. Tillman Road.

Thursday's rain and snowmelt left standing water and some flooding in Fort Wayne streets. Some storm drains are blocked by ice and debris, which is causing high water in some streets, according to City Utilities spokesman Frank Suarez. Residents are asked to check inlets in their neighborhoods and remove obstructions that might prevent melted snow and rainwater from draining into the storm sewers. The city has more than 90,000 storm inlets.

Motorists should not try to drive through standing water in roads, the city warned.

Residents should call 311 to report high water. After business hours, residents should remain on the line for automated prompts to help them reach the sewer maintenance department.