1 Dead, 1 Missing In Indiana Flood

Severe Flooding Grips Portion Of State

Floodwaters were still rising Sunday in portions of southern and south-central Indiana downstream from a swath of central Indiana that received as much as 11 inches of rain Saturday, killing one person with another listed as missing.

Rescuers from the U.S. Coast Guard, National Guard, Indiana Task Force One and local emergency responders were still plucking people from rising waters.


A man, whose name had not been released as of Sunday evening, drowned when his vehicle was swept away near County Road 900 and State Road 9 in Bartholomew County, police said.

"We are currently searching for some missing persons. We don't have a status on those folks, but we will continue to search for those until we can make a determination," said Bartholomew County sheriff's Lt. Rob Kittle.

Another person also was reported missing after falling off an airboat in a flooded area, state police 1st Sgt. Dave Bursten said.

Westbound lanes of Interstate 70 closed again on Sunday after it began to collapse because of erosion at mile marker 30. Eastbound lanes remain open. Interstate 65 from Indianapolis to Louisville, Ky., and U.S. 31 north and south of Columbus were reopened. But several state highways remained closed.

Numerous homes and businesses were flooded in a 23-county area in which a disaster declaration was made, said John Erickson, a spokesman for the Indiana Department of Homeland Security.

Those counties are Bartholomew, Daviess, Decatur, Franklin, Henry, Jackson, Jennings, Randolph, Ripley, Rush, Sullivan, Union, Wayne, Brown, Clay, Greene, Johnson, Monroe, Morgan, Owen, Shelby, Vermillion and Vigo.

Wave after wave of thunderstorms rolled through early Saturday morning and didn't let up until they had produced historic flooding in an area primarily to the south and southwest of Indianapolis.

Gov. Mitch Daniels said many of the flood victims he spoke to in Martinsville, Paragon, Columbus and Terre Haute told him similar stories about how quickly floodwaters rose, catching them off guard.

"This thing came on fast with such a radical deluge of water that people were describing going from a feeling of security to waist-deep water in a matter or 15 or 20 minutes," he told reporters Sunday.

Extra police were called in to Terre Haute, where some looting was reported.

Officials in Jackson County on Sunday told anyone who lives in a low-lying area to make immediate plans to evacuate. Sandbagging efforts continue in Johnson, Clay, Vigo, Owen, Greene, and Monroe counties, according to IDHS.

Flooding that moved south late Saturday prompted officials to evacuate more than 250 patients and employees from Columbus Regional Hospital in southern Indiana.

Authorities said anyone with relatives who were at the hospital can call 812-372-3789 to find out where they have been taken. The hospital is expected to be closed for some time. Workers pumped water out of the basement, and a couple inches of mud covered the first floor.

Johnson Memorial Hospital in Franklin expected to resume normal operation on Monday after crews spent the weekend drying out the emergency department, laboratory, main lobby and several other areas that flooded.

About 150 residents were taken out of a flooded nursing home in Morgan County, southwest of Indianapolis. Flooding forced 430 people staying at a Columbus-area high school to move to another shelter.

Duke Energy reported that 87,000 customers had lost power since Friday evening. Electric had been restored to all but 6,221 by Sunday morning, and those customers might have to wait as flooding was preventing crews from getting to downed lines and failed transformers, the utility said.

Record flooding continued along the White, Wabash and Flatrock rivers, Erickson said. A Johnson County dam was breached by the high water but had not failed, he said.

"It's in bad shape," Erickson said.

Hundreds of rescues were made Saturday as flooding ravaged a large part of central Indiana.

Shelters set up in the southern Indiana city of Columbus are filled with people, Erickson said. Shelters are also open in 10 other counties.

"Obviously we don't need any more rain," Erickson said.

Central Indiana will catch a break on that front, at least for a day. No rain was forecast for Sunday, but more showers and thunderstorms -- some possibly severe -- are expected on Monday and Tuesday.

The most rainfall reported on Saturday was 11 inches, which fell over 16 hours in Edinburgh, in far southern Johnson County -- the same community hit by a tornado earlier in the week.

Gov. Mitch Daniels and state Homeland Security Director Joe Wainscott toured flooded areas Sunday, including Columbus, which was being hit hard by high water that was moving south along several waterways to eventually drain into the Ohio River.

"If you get another inch or so of rain where they've already had 11 inches of rain, it doesn't help their situation, but it doesn't return to flooding anywhere near what they already saw," weather service Hydrologist Al Shipe said.

Part of southern Indiana from Spencer to Edwardsport could see high water as bad or worse than record flooding in 1913.

"We're not out of the woods yet," Shipe said.

Numerous shelters were set up by the American Red Cross and Salvation Army in flooded communities. Authorities said about 1,230 spent the night Saturday in a shelter.

The Red Cross urged anyone who needs assistance to call 317-684-1441.