Storms Rip Through Indiana Causing Major Flooding

A powerful line of thunderstorms marched across Indiana, damaging homes, knocking down trees and power lines and tearing the roof off a fire station.

But flooding could cause the most problems throughout the state as the National Weather Service was warning Wednesday that the Wabash, Tippecanoe and other major rivers will spill over their banks.

In Putnam County west of Indianapolis, the storm tore the roof off a fire station in Bainbridge and destroyed its radio tower Tuesday night. Barns and mobile homes also were damaged, along with several utility trailers.

In Greene County, southwest of Bloomington, the sheriff's department said roofs were blown off several houses in Bloomfield. Officers reported a large amount of debris in trees as well as downed trees and power lines. The sheriff's department said the damage resembled that of a tornado.

An 80 mph wind gust was reported in Clinton in Vermillion County. Trees and power lines were reported down in Terre Haute.

The National Weather Service was investigating storm damage in Putnam, Greene, Jackson and Decatur counties to see if any tornadoes touched down. No major injuries were reported.

The storms followed unseasonably high daytime temperatures in the 60s, and were generated by the same system that produced tornadoes that were blamed for nearly 50 deaths in the South.

Rain up to 3 inches and melting snow are causing flooding problems in some of the same areas hit hard last month.

Fountain County emergency management officials went door-to-door warning residents along the Wabash River that if the level continues to rise the may have to evacuate.

"It is a situation that those people in that area should monitor closely in the next two days," said Al Shipe, a hydrologist with the weather service in Indianapolis. "If it does get 2 or 3 feet higher than it did in January, we're looking at significant flooding."

He said the flooding would be the worst between Lafayette and Terre Haute.

The Wabash swelled to just over 22 feet last month, and Shipe said the river would likely crest between 24 and 25 feet. It was approaching 20 feet by late Wednesday morning, he said.

The weather service said the Wabash could reach its highest flood level since January 2005 when it crested at 25.03 feet and that major flooding was expected along the Tippecanoe River.

The Wabash in 2005 broke through levees in at least two places in a rural area south of Terre Haute. In Sullivan County, several residents were flown by helicopter out of their homes because of flood water.

Indiana Conservation Officers were searching a quarry Wednesday for a vehicle that may have plunged into the icy water during the night south of Indiana 24 east of Kentland. Portions of four state roads in northwestern counties were closed due to high water, the state said.

Cresting on many of the rivers will occur over the weekend into next week, the weather service said.

Officials in Carroll and White counties in northern Indiana also urged people along the Tippecanoe to voluntarily evacuate their homes.