Officials urge evacuations after Indiana levee breach

Senator Joe Donnelly and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg survey flood damage.

CBS affilaite WSBT

DEMOTTE, Ind. — A levee breach along the Kankakee River in northwestern Indiana has local officials urging about 30 homeowners to evacuate. Keener Township Volunteer Fire Chief Randy Woods said the breach was relatively minor when it was discovered about 3 p.m. Friday near Demotte, about 50 miles southeast of Chicago. He said some local residents tried to sandbag the breach “to get it under control, but it just got bigger and bigger.” 

Local firefighters were called out to help them, but eventually everyone had to pull out for their own safety. No injuries were reported.

The National Weather Service said record flooding was occurring along the Kankakee following several days of heavy rains and snowmelt that have sent streams out of their banks from the Ohio River to Michigan and Wisconsin. 

Some state and local leaders were looking at the damage in South Bend Friday, including Senator Joe Donnelly and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg damage, CBS affiliate WSBT reports

“We haven’t seen as much of a structural compromise as we did in the 2016 incident, but we’re really not going to know the conditions of some of the houses and conditions of some of the roads until after the water has receded,” Buttigieg said.

One resident, Jim Gosa, was without power and had four feet of water in his basement.

Some homes on Friday were halfway under water.

Strong thunderstorms moving into Oklahoma and Arkansas on Saturday brought a chance for flooding and possibly tornadoes. The weather service says nearly 10 inches of rain has fallen in parts of Arkansas over the past four days and up to 3 inches more was possible.

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