Three days of rain left farm fields flooded, creeks and rivers overflowing and is now leading to concerns about black ice with colder temperatures coming.
Across Johnson County, as many as 5 inches of rain has fallen since Saturday, leaving fields and roads flooded with standing water from creeks and rivers flowing over their banks. And with temperatures expected to drop below freezing later this week, the amount of standing water and flooding on county roads could make for dangerous, icy conditions.
On Monday, nine sections of local roads were closed due to flooding, and emergency workers were watching for others to flood, especially in the northern part of the county as water flows south, Sheriff Doug Cox said.
Johnson County Emergency Management Director Stephanie Sichting went to each creek and river in the county to observe the water level, and at each one, water overflowed the banks, she said. The worst flooding was around the Big Blue River and Sugar Creek, she said.
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And that was before another 2 inches of rain was expected on Monday, meaning officials expect more flooding over the next two days.
“This is one of the worst Decembers I can remember that didn’t involve snow,” Sichting said. “Right now, I’m really worried about the flooding. We got more rain Monday, and that’s what worries me.”
No damage to homes had been reported as of Monday; and despite more rainfall, the only flooding across the county was on farm fields and roads near creeks and rivers, Sichting said. The primary concern for Sichting and other emergency workers is the high water on roads.
Getting your vehicle stuck in high water is dangerous for motorists and emergency workers trying to rescue them, she said.
On Sunday, the Amity Fire Department had to perform a water rescue when a vehicle got stuck in standing water on County Road 250S, near Stoneybrook Lane.
“If you can’t see the road because of standing water, turn around,” Sichting said. “If the current is strong enough from the river or creek that has overflowed onto the road, it can take a vehicle right off the road.”
In White River Township, flooding is always a concern after a lot of rainfall, White River Township Fire Chief Jeremy Pell said.
Center Grove Estates near County Line Road, Old Smith Valley Road and Horizon Estates near Morgantown Road are some of the most common areas for flooding, Pell said. He will drive the area to see what locations are close to the flood threshold, he said.
Pell and the White River Township Fire Department work with Sichting and emergency management if flooding forces residents to leave their homes.
“Simply put, we’re prepared for it,” Pell said. “We know the areas that are more prone to flooding, and we have our boats and crews ready. We know what’s happened in the past and where.”
Next comes freezing temperatures.
The National Weather Service forecast for Thursday and Friday has temperatures dropping below freezing. Standing water will eventually turn into black ice, which is ice that looks like wet pavement. The freezing temperatures will make roads especially dangerous for motorists when conditions change from wet to icy, Sichting said.
“People will need to be aware when they’re driving,” she said. “It’s going to take a little bit for those roads to get cold enough for that standing water to freeze, but we’ll have icy conditions and a lot of black ice.”
Because of standing water and flooding from heavy rain over the weekend and Monday that brought creeks and rivers to flood stage, these roads are currently closed.
- Greensburg Road near County Road 725E
- County Road 250S, east of Interstate 65
- County Road 250S, east of U.S. 31
- Mauxferry Road, near County Road 350S
- Jim Black Road, just north of State Road 44
- Stoneybrook Lane, at County Road 250S
- County Road 350S, west of U.S. 31
- County Road 400S at County Road 700E
- County Road 725E