FORT WAYNE – The National Weather Service has issued a flood watch for most of the rivers in northeast Indiana, but as of Wednesday afternoon, none were expected to hit levels that would cause damage.
Melting snow and today's rain could push rivers over their banks, forecasters said, especially because the ground is frozen and ice jams could affect how well the rivers can drain.
The rain is the wild card: The National Weather Service said this morning's rain is expected to be between a half-inch and three-quarters of an inch, though some models say up to an inch of rain may fall. An evening thunderstorm is expected to bring up to a half-inch of rain, though forecasters are more worried about possible damaging winds with that system.
Fortunately, rivers are low, meaning they will be able to accept a lot of runoff before overflowing.
- In Decatur, the St. Marys River is expected to hit its flood stage of 17 feet Saturday afternoon and crest slightly higher. The river does not start causing problems in Decatur until it hits about 20 feet.
- Downstream in Fort Wayne, the St. Marys is not forecast to hit flood stage. The Maumee River is expected to hit about 16 feet, a foot below its flood stage, while the St. Joseph is forecast to hit 10.5 feet, well below its flood stage of 12 feet.
- In Bluffton, the Wabash River is expected to crest at 12.2 feet Sunday, but it does not affect homes until it hits 18 feet. Flood stage is 10 feet.
- The Eel River at North Manchester is forecast to crest Saturday at 10 feet; flood stage there is 9 feet. The East Side Trailer Court begins to flood about 13.5 feet.