Melting snow could cause severe flooding

INDIANAPOLIS - Late December rains, combined with melting snow, caused widespread flooding from Muncie to Indianapolis and Bloomington to Ellettsville, where homes were swamped and even the town hall was forced to move to a new location.

Now, almost two months later, there's concern that what happened in December could happen again. On Thursday, the National Weather Service issued an outlook warning of possible river flooding in central and southern Indiana from Feb. 19 into early March.

The primary source of concern: This season's record-high snowfall.

"We just set the all-time record, so we've got a lot of snow on the ground," said RTV6 Meteorologist Kyle Mounce. "It really hasn't gone anywhere. Combine that with the snowmelt and rain coming our way that we could get in the next couple of weeks, and we could have some real problems."

The ground along the White River in Indianapolis is covered in snow. According to the NWS, when that snow melts, low-lying flooding could occur. But if there's significant rain Feb. 19-24, that flooding could be severe.

Another issue, according to NWS, is the frozen ground. As snow melts, it simply runs off. The NWS warns that the potential for thick river ice breaking could cause jams and severe localized flooding.

"The best thing is if we can gradually melt this snow," Mounce said.

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