These were the doppler radar rainfall estimates we woke up with one year ago today. The red and deep red shaded areas had 3 to 6 inches of rain. Total rainfall amounts ended up in the 5 to 8 inch range with an isolated report of 10 inches in Buffalo. This comes out to a season's worth of precipitation that fell in only 10 hours. Water rescues started taking place across the area for both people and animals. You can see the stranded horses in Monon below.
The horrible images we all remember from hurricane Katrina in Louisiana were being repeated right here in our own backyards from White, Carroll, and Cass Counties up into Newton and Jasper Counties. Mary Anne in Remington shows us how homes were engulfed with water. Some folks even told me their living rooms had strong currents running through them. It is amazing we did not have more fatalities.
We were not talking about 100 year floods but water levels never before recorded or seen in areas to the north of Tippecanoe County. Here are some amazing excerpts from our newscast on January 8th.
Sue: NIPSCO recorded record flow at the Norway and Oakdale Dams.
About 100 people have been evacuated from towns in White County.
State Police say those evacuees have been taken to Red Cross Shelters at the Monon Civic Center, the White County Farm, and the Buffalo Fire Station.
Jeff Smith reports State Police helped the White and Carroll County Sheriff's Departments and crews from the DNR in helping to rescue people.
>> Mark Houser: We've lost everything, it's the worse I've ever seen it.
>> Mark and Sherry Houser have lived on the Tippecanoe River for six years.
They left home with everything they own in a plastic bag.
The Housers are among the boat-load
s evacuated from homes along the Tippy.
Donald Smith and his wife evacuated...reluctantly.
Smith rescued his dog, and put a neighbor's dogs in his garage before leaving.
>> NIPSCO spokesman Jim Fitzer says the Oakdale and Norway Dams are operating normally but they've never seen as much water.
Flow at the Oakdale Dam peaked at 26-thousand Cubic Feet per Second.
The previous record was 22,500, set in 1959.
Residents, like Gladie Van Voorst, could only watch the water rise.
>> Gladie Van Voorst: There are
26 steps to the river.
It's never been higher than today, there are only 12 showing.
Gladie Van Voorst: Thirteen showing out of 26.
Jeff: NIPSCO called a "Flood Emergency" at seven o'clock this morning.
The high water has prompted multiple eva
cuations in areas in White County including Diamond Point, Blue Wate
r, Maple Bend near Buffalo, and in the Monticello. State Police, conservation officers, and other emergency personnel are assisting in the evacuations.
White County Emergency Management Director Gordy Cochran says shelters have been set up in Monon, Buffalo, Wolcott, and Monticello. He says the northern part of the county is one of the worst hit areas.
Gordy Cochran: We are up in Buf
falo. We had to wait until daylight due to several roads up there washed out completely. We wanted to wait until daylight to get people in. We've got State Police, Fire Department, Emergency Management, Sheriff's Department up there right now going house to house to see who needs to be out and who needs help to get out.
White County's Emergency Management
Department estimates at least 200 homes have some kind of flood damage. Director Gordan Cochran says his office has been swamped with people wanting to know what to do with their damaged items. Cochran says
until President Bush declares this area a natural disaster site, he does not know what financial relief people can expect.
It was almost surreal. Entire cars were just about covered. We saw this with snow the previous year in February with the blizzard. Many folks were certainly wishing it would have been a blizzard instead of a great flood. The damage was far greater and lives changed forever. The day before the floods hit daffodils were reported in Lafayette with record highs of 69. This caused a heavy snowpack of up to 20 inches in the northern Wabash River watershed to quickly melt and with the deluge of rain on an already saturated ground it was the set-up for a historic flood that will never be forgotten.
Compare and contrast that to today and it will feel like a slice of heaven. Yes! We may be waking up with wind chills near zero but we could actually see some rare sunshine this afternoon with a lighter wind and most of all the rivers are in their banks.
We are okay for now but a big concern will continue to be flooding on area rivers for the remainder of this winter into the Spring. A La Nina pattern that brought this devastation last winter is once again gaining strength and even though it is not forecasted to be as strong I think we all need to watch things closely. This usually brings wild weather here in the Midwest with everything from big snowstorms to se vere thunderstorms. It can bring record lows followed by record warm surges like we saw last year.
I can see us going into a dangerous cycle once again. We will have periods of warmth, followed by extreme cold, then snow, another warm-up with heavy rain, then back to another shot of cold and snow. Mark your calendars down for next week when the first part of the cycle kicks in...that will be the cold...then we will watch for a bigger snow, followed by warmth and stormy weather. We will continue to fine-tune things as we get closer and I will give you plenty of advance notice here on the blog. This will be about a 3 to 4 week cycle that will try to play out over and over. Sound familiar? I am not calling for another 500 year flood, but significant flooding cannot be ruled out.
In the short-term we will watch record cold coming our way from Siberia. Check out this thermometer reading sent in by Levi from Tok, Alaska. This is southeast of Fairbanks and it actually shows the temperature at - 60 degrees! This is cold enough to explode trees and freeze mercury. A chunk of this cold air will move into Lafayette the middle of next week with lows below zero likely. I went with a conservative 8 below zero on my seven day forecast. It does depend on how much snow cover we actually have. If we have some snow to work with on the ground we could be even colder.
Now on a more positive note, I am trying to give a late Christmas gift to all the snow-lovers out there. I am heading to Florida for the next few days to run in the Disney World Marathon. It should be a blast with great running weather. Temperatures will start near 50 and I should cross the finish with low 60s! This means here at home we will be on the outlook for a bigger snow event. Even though nothing is sh owing up on the maps right now, keep your guard up. Something big always happens when I head out of town. It is the called the meteorologist jinx. So that little snow on Saturday could easily be much bigger and watch early next week closely. That is when I fly back. This is when the atmosphere usually likes to give me a thrill ride on my plane ride home. I saw severe storms lash the ear th and bounce my plane up and down last time I flew home. One other year Buffalo had like 6 inches of rain in 3 hours during big thunderstorms. Another year I flew to Maryland and Lafayette had more than 6 inches of snow. So there you have it! I am doing all I can to bring you some snow. We will see how it works out. I will only be a keyboard away in Florida and will check in with you.
We are due for snow as you see we are running about 3 to 4 inches below average. We will get our snow as we go into that active cycle. Let's just keep the floods away and on a day like today remember the lessons of the past and certainly count all of our blessings. Now I had better get to the airport. I need a laptop! I would have written you from 36,000 feet describing all those beautiful clouds as I saw them. Take care and I will talk to you soon from the land of sunshine and yes, GO GATORS!! Here is the Florida forecast put together. Just think, this will be Lafayette by late March. I do think we still see an early Spring!!