Big Warm Up Could Mean Big Melt Down and Possible Flooding

Published 02/17 2014 03:14PM

Updated 02/17 2014 03:26PM

It might be hard to believe, but Spring is only about a month away.  With nearly a foot of snow still on the ground in some areas, a big warm up could mean a big melt down for home owners and businesses.

WFFT's Tara Petitt spoke with the City of Fort Wayne and also with WFFT's Weekend Meteorologist Andrew Logsdon about what kind of flooding is possible over the next few weeks and how the city has prepared.

"We could be looking at some pretty bad flooding."

Logsdon says this winter's historic snowfall could be followed by historic flooding.

"Everyone remembers the winter of 1982 when we had our record breaking snow year.  That year we had the worst flooding in history."

Logsdon says after the end of this week, 2014 could end up topping the 1982 record for the snowiest winter in Fort Wayne history.

"The concern with this year is the sub-freezing temperatures.  We've had so many days below zero, the ground is much more frozen than it typically would be this time of year."

With frozen soil, melted snow and rain fall can't soak into the ground.

"Normally when we get that snow melt and the rain, that water can just go right into the ground and flow out but when the ground is frozen, it doesn't go down there.  So where's it going to go?  It's gonna flow out across the land."

Fortunately, the City of Fort Wayne has spent millions of dollars since 1982 on several major improvements that have significantly reduced the effects of flooding.

"If things were the way they are today, as the way they were in 1982, we would see a repeat of  that devastating flooding but things have changed quite a bit.  With the build-up of Headwaters Park, they've built some more dikes and levys along the rivers and everything, raised the level of everything, downtown is a lot more protected."

Logsdon says the main concern will be the lower areas outside of downtown.

"You know the trouble spot.  The St. Mary's down all the way out of town, it always floods.  That's gonna be a bad area."

Other low areas, especially near Spy Run Creek and the Maumee, will be especially affected by flooding.

"This is a great time to start taking the precautions.  Look at sand bags, start stock piling those in case you have to build it up along your yard."

Other ways to protect your home from flooding, leak-proof your basement.  Check your sump pump, make sure it's working properly.  Let the water drip from your faucets, and keep the temperature up in your house.

"Just whatever you need to do to prepare.  Now, invest the money now, so you're not spending 50 times that down the road when we see devastating flooding."

Right now, the National Weather Service is looking at how fast warm temperatures could be here to stay.  A gradual rise in temperature is likely, which would give the ground time to slowly thaw out and also the snow time to slowly melt without hopefully causing flooding.

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