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Heavy rains pound Lake County, flood highway

– Much of Indiana dried out Sunday from a third straight day of severe storms that left a major northwestern Indiana highway closed in both directions and a downtown Indianapolis building with a gaping hole in its roof.

The National Weather Service reported more than 4 inches of rain fell on the Lake County town of Schererville during a 24-hour period ending Sunday morning and that the nearby town of Dyer received more than 3.6 inches of rainfall during a single hour Saturday afternoon. It said Hart Ditch in Dyer rose from nearly 2 feet to nearly 12 feet in less than an hour.

U.S. 30, a major east-west route just south of Gary, was closed for several hours because of a flooded viaduct, The (Munster) Times reported.

Two vehicles became stuck under the viaduct, and fire crews rescued three motorists, Assistant Schererville Fire Chief Robert Patterson said. No one was injured.

Meanwhile, a 120-foot drain pipe failed, creating a 40-foot-by-50-foot pond of water, Cmdr. Brian Neyhart of the Schererville Police Department said.

Bernie Glasgow watched motorists, including some diverted by the U.S. 30 closing, drive cautiously through the pond that he guessed was about 2 feet deep at the time.

“I haven’t seen this kind of flooding since I’ve lived here. That’s 25 years. Someone drove on my lawn to avoid the water,” Glasgow told The Times.

Central Indiana also received heavy rains, with 461/27 inches falling on Kokomo during a 24-hour period ending Sunday morning, and 3.4 inches measured in Bargersville, just south of Indianapolis, the weather service said.

A 49 mph wind gust was recorded at Indianapolis International Airport, the weather service said.

Indianapolis firefighters said a lightning strike apparently sent a piece of masonry flying off a building in downtown Indianapolis and through the roof of an adjacent building.

Firefighters responding to a water flow alarm Saturday night and found a hole measuring 10 feet by 20 feet in the ceiling of the fifth floor and water flowing from a sprinkler system damaged by falling debris. They then found a piece of decorative brick masonry measuring 4 inches by 20 inches that had fallen from the 17th floor of an adjacent building.

A security guard working in a nearby building told firefighters she “heard a loud thunder clap, boom, and something falling” during a strong thunderstorm Saturday evening.