The National Weather Service, we reported recently, is warning of potential river flooding in central and southern Indiana. And it could begin as soon as the middle of this week and extend into early March.
With as much as 12 inches of snow on the ground in areas of central and northern Indiana, the concern is that a possible thunderstorm Thursday — you read that correctly — and a high of 50 degrees could just be the start of significant runoff.
“Should a significant rain event occur between Feb. 19 and Feb. 24, the severity of the flooding would greatly increase,” a weather service advisory said Friday.
With rain atop melting snow, local and state authorities warn motorists to be cautious when driving on flooded roads and highways. Flash floods can come rapidly and unexpectedly.
Indiana State Police offer a few flood safety tips:
• Don’t travel unless absolutely necessary. If you have to travel, carry a cellphone with a car charger.
• Purchase a weather scanner and heed all flood and flash flood warnings issued by the National Weather Service.
• Do not drive around barricades at water crossings.
• Be especially vigilant at night. Many drowning deaths occur at night when it is difficult to see water crossings.
• Do not cross or enter flowing water. Driving fast through high water on the road is not a solution. Faster speeds create less tire contact with the road surface and increase your chance of crashing.
• Driving through standing water may affect your brakes. Test your brakes at low speeds as soon as you exit the water.
• If you choose to abandon your vehicle, respect the force of the water flow – you may be swept off your feet. After you exit the vehicle, seek higher ground.
• Be aware that road erosion may occur when there is running or standing water.
Remember that 6 inches of water will reach the bottoms of most car doors. One foot of water will float many vehicles, and 2 feet of moving water can carry away most vehicles. If you find yourself stranded in flood waters, remain calm and call 911. If you can do so safely, move to higher ground.
THE ISSUE Melting snow can bring flooding problems OUR VIEW Predicted thunderstorm could mean the severity of the flooding would greatly increase