Elkhart County under hydrologic outlook, flooding a possibility as temperatures increase

Elkhart County preparing for thaw as temperatures rise above freezing this week

Posted on Feb. 16, 2014 at 5:15 p.m.

ELKHART — The warm-up anticipated later this week will surely be welcomed by many in the area, but a thaw won't come without the possibility of a handful of issues.

Temperatures are expected to rise above freezing as the week progresses, which means melting of ice and snow will begin. With the amount of snow the area has seen, flooding could become a concern.

The National Weather Service has issued a hydrologic outlook for Elkhart County until further notice. A hydrologic outlook means an increased risk of flooding potential.

Melting snow and ice could be compounded by ice break-up in bodies of water, which could result in thick blocks of ice resulting in ice jams.

Adding to those concerns is the likelihood of more precipitation throughout the week.

Snow is likely Monday, Feb. 17, with the possibility of a few more inches of accumulation. Additional snow and rain is likely Wednesday night into Thursday.

The weather service says the chance of flooding is less likely early this week, as overnight temperatures Monday through Wednesday are expected to dip below freezing. The cooler overnight temperatures would allow for some refreezing and slowing of snow-melt, decreasing the risk of flooding.

But a high temperature of 44 degrees is expected Thursday, which would significantly increase the rate of melting.

Because of the much warmer temperatures, the chance of flooding issues is much higher as the week progresses.

Due to the expected rise in temperatures, Elkhart Mayor Dick Moore has asked for residents' help in several weather-related tasks in the coming days.

A press release from Moore's office asks residents to take time to clear snow from catch basins and fire hydrants, as well as manage frozen service lines.

Removing snow from catch basins will allow water from melted snow to reach the basins and reduce the risk of flooding.

Hydrants should have a clearing of 3 feet all around and there should be a clear path to the street to allow firefighters easy access in case of emergencies.

Despite the coming warmer weather, freezing water lines will remain a concern.

Though the air temperature will rise this week, the ground temperature will not change as quickly.

Goshen Water Utility has issued a system-wide freeze warning to residents because of the prolonged cold spell.

Residents are encouraged to leave a single cold water faucet running inside their home to help avoid freezing pipes.

The frost line under the ground will not fluctuate as quickly as the air temperature, according to a release from the Goshen Water Utility.

The warning will be in effect until the department notifies customers otherwise.


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