“We’re gonna have to close Kennedy Avenue,” the chief said.
It turns out that the Little Calumet River is over the 15 feet mark and still climbing. According to the chief, by the time it gets to 15.2 feet, the road should be closed. The number one thing you don’t want is for water to come onto the roadway and then rush into the surrounding neighborhood. Bridges are almost always the low points over rivers.
As background… The Little Calumet River runs East-West across the Calumet Region. It separates Hammond and Highland. After the big flood of 2008, the Army Corps did a ton of work on the Little Cal at the Kennedy Avenue bridge. The river at points near Kennedy Avenue is as wide as a football field is long. It’s difficult to imagine that there’s that much water to fill up the whole basin.
But there is. At this point, there’s a few things to note:
- It’s still raining.
- The temperature is dropping. “We’re getting a little concerned about ice,” Timmer said.
- Northcote Avenue bridge is also closed. So now that Kennedy Avenue is closed, it could mean big traffic on Indianapolis Boulevard, Columbia and Cline in the morning.
- As far as I can recall, water doesn’t start coming over the banks of the Little Cal until above the 16 foot level. We’re not close to that yet.
- As chief Timmer and I discussed, even if the water does get to that level, the first place to flood is Wicker Park golf course. “I heard you on the air the other day saying you’ve been golfing all winter. We’re trying not to flood your golf course. But it beats water going into people’s homes,” the chief said.
- I just got back from Hart Ditch along the west side of Wicker Park. My brother-in-law Mark Foreit and a couple dozen other volunteers were throwing a second level of sandbags on top of the retaining wall. My niece Maddy just returned from the Munster town garage, where, she said, about 25 high schoolers filled sand bags.
- By the way, Hart Ditch looks like a bathtub filled to the brim. Water is moving very swiftly towards the Little Cal. It’s like rapids. Fall in there right now and you’re toast.
That’s as much as I have for you right now. I did the Facebook Live video out at Hart Ditch. You can watch that for a feel of how hard it’s raining and how high the water is. Personally, I have a gut feeling that by late morning the big danger will have passed. I have been wrong before, however. Good night for now.