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Heavy rains lead to several Indiana rescues

– A day of heavy rains left highways and other roads closed across parts of Indiana on Thursday, necessitating the rescues of several motorists.

The National Weather Service reported 3.37 inches of rainfall fell between midnight and 12:30 p.m. near the northern Indianapolis suburb of Carmel.

“You can tell by my pant leg about how deep it was,” Jason Romain told WISH-TV, pointing to a wet dividing line about midway down after wading through an inundated parking lot in Carmel.

In southwestern Indiana, the weather service reported more than 5 inches of rain fell over 18 hours ending Thursday evening, filling creek banks, overflowing ditches and sending water flowing across numerous roads. At the opposite end of the state, the city of Fort Wayne eclipsed its record rainfall for the date of 1.79 inches by 5 p.m., before more thunderstorms were forecast to rake the state Thursday night, it said.

Indiana conservation officers reported rescuing at least eight people beginning Wednesday night. They included two sisters, ages 88 and 95, after one of them drove around a barricade and the vehicle stalled on flooded Indiana 26 near Hartford City. The women were treated for mild hypothermia, Officer John Gano said.

“It was unclear why they drove around the barricade, which was posted with signs stating `high water - road closed,”’ Gano said in a news release.

No major injuries were reported from the storms.

Emergency crews used a boat to rescue a woman from her home in Westfield, just north of Carmel, after flood waters surrounded it, WTHR-TV reported.

Carmel Fire Marshal Bruce Knott said some motorists paid little heed to the dangers the high waters posed before driving into them.

“We had people going around the fire apparatus, going right through the thick water while we were helping someone out of their car, so it’s just very frustrating,” Knott told WISH. “Plus, it’s dangerous for us because we can’t be stopping traffic when we’re out there helping the victims,”

Authorities in Hamilton County, where Carmel and Westfield are located, and adjacent Boone County provided sandbags to residents to hold back high water.

In Indianapolis, crews closed off portions of major thoroughfares including Allisonville Road and North Keystone and Emerson Avenues.

High water also closed parts of several highways including Indiana 43 in Tippecanoe County and, in southern Indiana, Indiana 450 in Martin and Lawrence counties and Indiana 58 in Bartholomew County.