SHELBYVILLE, Ind. - Shelbyville residents along the Big Blue River were being evacuated Saturday amid concerns of severe flooding.
Shelby County emergency management authorities said heavy rains were poised to create a "major flood situation," with a water level crest of 19.7 feet possible, according to the Shelby County EMA's Mike Schantz.
Schantz warned that flooding could exceed that of the 1913 flood, when river levels reached 20.20 feet.
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"We are advising residents in low-lying areas to prepare to evacuate their homes until the river crests and flood waters subside," Schantz said in an emergency release.
Officials said the crest was expected to arrive between 6-7 a.m. Sunday morning, and to recede by 1-2 p.m.
Shelby Co. wasn't the only area hit hard. In Delaware County, officials were urging motorists to avoid non-essential travel. And in Ellettsville, numerous reports were coming in of impassable roads and power outages from the floods.
Evacuations in Shelbyville were occurring mostly on the north side, though other areas of the county were also susceptible to heavy flooding.
The Dunagans were among those residents who decided not to take any chances. They voluntarily evacuated from their home in Sunset Park with their two small children – opting to head for a shelter opened at Shelbyville High School.
"It's already started in certain areas … it's going to be bad," said Tabitha Dunagan. "We don't want to be the first to be hit by either the water going over the levee or the levee breaking, one of the two."
Sunset Park is located right along the Big Blue River.
Schantz said the levee was built to hold 18-18.5 feet of water.
"Anything beyond that we haven't experienced that in many years," he said.
Officials estimated 600 homes could be impacted by the flood risk throughout Shelby County, especially roughly 100 homes located near the Sugar Creek and the Little and Big Blue Rivers.
Shelby Co. EMA officials said the following areas were considered high-probability flooding zones:
· West of State Road 9 and North of Washington Street in Shelbyville
· Walkerville/Kennedy Park
· East Washington, East Jackson, East Franklin, Murdock, Indiana Avenue, Minister Drive, Coffey Lane
· Red Bud Acres
· Johnson's Camp
· Beechbrook Addition
· Lee's Camp
· Lewis Creek
· Walnut Grove
· Willow Park