Preparations ready for possible NWI flooding

2013-04-17T20:20:00Z 2013-04-18T07:00:05Z Preparations ready for possible NWI floodingLU ANN FRANKLIN Times Correspondent
April 17, 2013 8:20 pm  • 

MUNSTER | As the rain continues over the next 24 hours, preparations are ready in every community to fight possible floodwaters, members of the Little Calumet River Basin Development Commission heard at Wednesday’s meeting.

“We’re ready. Each community has its own material ready. That’s the bladder in Munster, sandbags in Hammond and Griffith and blocks in Highland,” said Dan Repay, LCRDBC executive director.

Repay said representatives from Highland, Munster, Hammond, Griffith, Wicker Park, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Indiana Department of Transportation met Wednesday morning to discuss preparations.

The alert level has been raised and one person from each agency will be stationed along the Little Calumet River beginning at 10 p.m. Wednesday “to put eyes on the river,” he said.

Hammond personnel will work from Northcote Avenue to Cline Avenue, and Munster will monitor Northcote to State Line.

If the river reaches a certain level, watchers will call the municipal supervisors and Repay to initiate flood fighting action.

“All the pumps are working and there are backup generators on each pump,” Repay said. “As of 9 a.m. (Wednesday) there was nothing in the channel. We’ve been cleaning out dams and all the blockages as regular maintenance.”

There is also a contractor on standby to remove any trees that might fall into the river during this rain event, he said.

Communications with residents also are set up, Repay said. In Hammond and Griffith there is a reverse-calling system to notify residents of flooding issues. Munster and Highland use the Nixle emergency alert phone system.

Road closures would take place if needed, Repay told the commission. Among the first roads closed would be Kennedy, Northcote and Columbia avenues. Gary streets that would be impacted include Calhoun and Colfax. Hohman Avenue and State Line also might be affected.

In addition, Repay recommended that residents listen to WJOB 1230AM and check with The Times online,

“Stay at home. Stay away from the bridges. We will have people and machinery at every bridge,” Repay said. “Standing in the middle of the bridge and saying ‘oh, no’ isn’t going to help.”

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