Storms lead to flooding in county, high water rescues

Streets across the county flooded and at least two people had to be rescued from their vehicles after storms brought heavy rain to Johnson County.

The storms also caused multiple lightning strikes, including one that led to an attic fire in a Center Grove area neighborhood.

But by Monday morning, local officials had not gotten reports of water damaging homes.

A line of storms passed through central Indiana on Sunday, bringing lightning and up to 2.5 inches of rain in Johnson County, while some other areas of central Indiana got up to 5 inches of rain, according to the National Weather Service.

From 3 p.m. until after 10 p.m., local emergency workers were out multiple times.

Most of the calls were for high water and flooding, including rescuing motorists from vehicles that had become trapped in high water.

Just after 11 p.m., a driver called 911 from a vehicle stalled in high water along County Road 700W, just east of Morgantown, telling dispatchers she couldn’t swim. About a half hour later, another driver called 911 and was rescued from a vehicle stalled in high water near County Road 200N and County Road 75W, just west of Franklin, according to reports from the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office.

Emergency workers were called when other vehicles stalled in water, including in the Eagle Trace neighborhood off Olive Branch Road, but drivers already had gotten out of the vehicle when crews arrived, White River Township Fire Chief Jeremy Pell said.

“People underestimate how much water is in these low-lying areas,” Pell said.

Areas that flooded included some of the usual places, such as the intersection of County Road 75W and County Road 100N, west of Franklin, which routinely floods during heavy rains, Bargersville Fire Chief Jason Ramey said.

But emergency workers were more surprised when Eagle Trace flooded, which is unusual, Pell said.

In addition to the heavy rain, recently fallen leaves also made it more difficult for the water to drain off the roads, Franklin Mayor Steve Barnett said. After leaves began to fall late last week, residents began raking over the weekend, with some raking their leaves into the streets, he said. Residents should be sure to rake leaves into the grassy area between the street and sidewalk, he said.

Franklin had two crews of workers out Sunday night clearing drains to help the water recede, Barnett said. Workers were also out in Greenwood doing the same work, and were joined by Greenwood Mayor Mark Myers.

Myers knows the areas that flood in the city, and so he headed to Yorktown Road on Sunday night, where standing water was about two feet high. He walked back and forth in the street to help clear the drains of trash and leaves and other debris, to allow the water to recede, he said.

Across the county, more than 20 roads flooded, including sections of major routes such as U.S. 31, County Line Road, Fry Road, Whiteland Road and Jefferson Street. Residents also called 911, concerned water was going to come into their homes.

When the storm began on Sunday afternoon, the first emergency calls were for lightning strikes, including one in the Center Grove area that tripped breakers and blew an outlet in four homes.

Another lightning strike caused an attic fire in the 4000 block of Hickory Ridge in the Hickory Stick neighborhood, Ramey said. The resident was home at the time, but did not know the house had been hit or that it was on fire until he noticed his garage door wasn’t working and smelled something burning. By then, residents had begun to call 911 when they saw smoke, Ramey said.

The home had minor damage from the fire, but also was damaged when rain came in during heavy downpours, he said. Firefighters also had to cut through ceilings in order to get to the fire, he said.

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Annie Goeller is managing editor of the Daily Journal. She can be reached at agoeller@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2718.