Flooding along the St. Joseph and Elkhart rivers continued in Elkhart County on Thursday, closing parks, stores and streets. 

In Goshen, the high school varsity softball team will have to play its remaining home games this season at Goshen College, as flooding ruined the field at Shanklin Park for the second consecutive year.

"It's sickening," softball coach Brent Kulp said.

The frustration is about more than just having to play away from home.

"People don't realize the work that my coaches and I put in on weekends, Sundays, during the week. The extra stuff to get that field looking presentable, in the best condition possible," Kulp said. "I feel bad for the coaches, my kids. I mean, it's very frustrating."

Last year's historic flood meant that the staff was better prepared this time around, saving a tractor and other items from the rising water. 

"We had some other people come over with waders, because it was up to their knees. They were yanking as much stuff out as possible," Kulp said.

He said the river leaves behind water lines on the press box and a stench because of the river smell. Depending on how quickly the river recedes, there might also be mud on the field, according to the coach.

"You don't realize until you actually are standing (there), to get the full feel of 'Holy cow! There's nothing.' I mean, it's gone," Kulp said.

He estimated 2 or 2.5 feet of water was on the field Thursday afternoon.

Whether the school should find a permanent solution to avoid future floods is out of Kulp's hands, but he said the school corporation has been looking into finding a different area for a softball field.

Softball sectionals begin on May 20.

Elsewhere in Goshen, the Kroger supermarket was closed due to high water in the parking lot.

"At last report, the water did not reach the store and appeared to be receding from the lot," said Eric Halvorson, media spokesman and manager of corporate affairs at The Kroger Co. "Our district manager, his team and Kroger engineers are constantly evaluating the conditions in the area. They will not re-open the store until they are confident the setting is safe for our store associates and our customers."

Kroger reopened in August more than five months after flooding in February 2018 forced it to close and undergo a complete overhaul. The company used the time to invest $6 million into a total renovation.

Nearby Rogers Park and parts of Chicago Avenue were also flooded Thursday.

In Elkhart, portions of Arch and Folsom streets were closed due to the flooding, and parts of the parking lot at Elkhart Central High School were under water.

Also closed was American Park, Baker Park, Island Park, Studebaker Park and the RiverWalk. On Thursday afternoon, Baker Park and Island Park appeared to be mostly submerged.

According to the Elkhart Mayor's Office, the city expected water levels to start falling Thursday.

The National Weather Service extended its flood warning for the Elkhart River in Goshen until Saturday afternoon.

As of 11 a.m. Thursday, the river stage in Goshen was 8.4 feet and falling, according to the weather service, which predicts the flood stage will fall below the flood stage of 7 feet around 2 p.m. on Friday.

Forecasters were calling for a chance of showers in Elkhart County on Friday and Saturday, according to the weather service.

Follow Rasmus S. Jorgensen on Twitter @ReadRasmus

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