THE RIVER WIDE – ST. MARYS TOPS ITS BANKS AGAIN

After going through three floods in a year and a half, I have become familiar with the ebb and flow of the river just across Thieme Drive from home. Yesterday was the the fourth time in four and a half years – July 2003, June 2004, January 2005, and February 6, 2008 – that this small “cup” area of Thieme, Nelson, and West Berry has been the victim of flooding.

Not many of us are affected, and when we do flood, it is an aggravating inconvenience. My basement takes in water primarily from filtration as the St. Marys travels through the “fill dirt” which is the foundation of Thieme Drive and adjacent properties.

I have found that I pay much more attention to the weather forecasts, especially when rain, snow, sleet, and other variations of moisture are predicted. What is strange is that I have come to recognize the signs of whether or not the river will top its banks. If it rains heavily for several days or if we have a snow melt combined with rains, the river will get close to climbing out of its banks. If we have a couple of days where we have clear skies, the river has a chance to discharge and the levels drop.

Tuesday night, as I drove home along Thieme Drive, I saw that the river was extremely high – higher than usual when it has approached its banks – and thought to myself, “Oh, oh, this could be a problem.” Yesterday morning when I anxiously looked out my front window, I could see the river creeping across Thieme Drive, and I knew the river would be up to my yard in a few hours. I grabbed my camera to see if I could get some pictures in the dim morning light. The picture below is of several vehicles driving through the water before the City blocked off Thieme Drive.

Thieme Drive traffic – early morning February 6, 2008
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I went to work with that kind of sick feeling in the pit of my stomach, knowing that when I came home, more than likely the river would have advanced to the top of my front lawn. I got through my morning class and then ran home to check the water level and to check my basement for water.

St. Marys River overflowing banks – February 6, 2008
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The City had blocked off Thieme Drive, but I have learned that I can cut down an alley to get to the side of my home. Once there, I am able to get into my house. It sets on a slope, and, in all the times I have flooded, I have always been able to get into my house.

I ran in and immediately went to the front door to go out onto my front porch to see what was happening. The City was hauling in load after load of clay to again construct a dike like the one that was put in place in January 2005. This time, though, it would be a different battle since the river had already topped its banks and covered Thieme Drive. Water was already over to our yards and up to the tops, so the City workers had to dump the clay on top of water along the river side.


City worker along Thieme Drive

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But just knowing that the City was going to work to protect our homes made me feel so much better. One of my friends came by to see how I was doing, and I talked to him for several minutes on my front porch. After he left, I went back to work. Coming home last night, I knew what would be facing me. I have been through this now enough times, but several of my neighbors have been through this even more.

I drove up and parked, and, as I suspected the river was up to the top of my lawn. The City workers were working diligently to build the clay dike, but the river was coming up through manhole covers. I spent about an hour just watching and thinking about what was to come when I would get off work and come home last night.

That is all for now. I spent a fairly restless night and did as much as I could to help sandbag. This morning I am really tired, but I have to go to work. I hope to take a half personal day this afternoon and come home. It is hard for me to concentrate when I know what is going on around my home and my neighbors’ homes. I will follow up with the efforts from yesterday evening in a post with pictures later today.


The water level yesterday afternoon – from my front porch

But doesn’t that new fence railing look nice against the drab background? 🙂

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About Charlotte A. Weybright

I own a home in the historical West Central Neighborhood of Fort Wayne, Indiana. I have four grown sons and nine grandchildren - four grandsons and five granddaughters. I love to work on my home, and I enjoy crafts of all types. But, most of all, I enjoy being involved in political and community issues.
This entry was posted in Cities and Towns, Floods, Fort Wayne, West Central Neighborhood. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to THE RIVER WIDE – ST. MARYS TOPS ITS BANKS AGAIN

  1. Andy says:

    Charlotte – Thanks for the update. Sorry to hear about the water creeping closer to your house.

    I hope the water receeds quickly and things are back to normal ASAP.

    Sending positive thoughts your way and to the rest of FW residents who are battling and facing this same issue.

  2. Kevin Knuth says:

    Charlotte,

    I went by at 11:00- the water is receding. It will be a couple of days before you can use your sidewalk- but I think we have dodged a major disaster this time.

  3. Pete says:

    I stopped over to help pitch a few sandbags last night. The weather reporters called it “moderate” flooding on the St. Marys, and that’s how it seemed to me. Sure not like the time we had that hip-deep sandbag party. Best wishes.

  4. jpksu says:

    I really hope the water recedes before it gets any closer to your home. Thanks for the update and good luck…

  5. Thank you all for your thoughts. The city brought in a huge pump, and it is doing the job. It has been running 24/7 since Wednesday night, and the water has been pretty well discharged back over the dike in to the river.

    And, Pete, you sure are right about not as bad as the 2003 sandbag party. For those wondering what we are talking about, the water was so deep it was hard to manage the sandbags through it to the front of our homes. We had the idea of using garbage cans and filled them with sandbags. Once they were drug into the water, they floated nicely even with the heavy sandbags in them, so they floated them around to the front of the houses for placement. But it definitely beat trying to carry those bags in that hip-deep water.

    Human ingenuity! 🙂

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