CHICAGO (CBS) — Officials in northwest Indiana have been monitoring the Little Calumet River, as it could reach levels not seen in a decade by Wednesday morning.
As of 10 a.m., the river measured at 14 feet in Munster, two feet above flood stage. Forecasts show it could reach 15.5 feet before it begins to recede.
The river hasn’t flooded that badly since 2008, when it reached a record 17.3 feet, according to the National Weather Service.
So far, the river hasn’t caused any flooding in homes or streets, and residents are hoping it stays that way.
Officials have closed the Northcote Avenue bridge between Munster and Hammond, where the water nearly touched the bottom of the bridge Tuesday morning. The river is expected to crest sometime Wednesday morning.
Manmade barricades built out of sandbags and concrete blocks have been built to a height of 17 feet to keep the water from reaching nearby homes.
Hammond firefighters joined onlookers Tuesday morning to gauge the possibility of flooding.
“It’s something to think about. I think this is probably the most water we’ve had since 2008, when on the Munster side they did lose quite a bit of homes,” Hammond Fire Chief Jeff Smith said. “We haven’t told anybody to leave yet. I’m sure it’s in the back of our minds, and the back of the residents’ minds, but right now I think we’re good.”
Several homes in Munster were lost to the 2008 floods. Since then, the Little Calumet River Basin Development Commission built levees to withstand heavy rain.
Tuesday morning, public works crews even shot off a valve near the river to keep the water out. Residents said they hope that’s enough to keep their homes dry.
“We’re kind of worried about this, but according to all authorities people got flood insurance off their homes because everything was going to be safe, and because it’s very expensive. This isn’t actually a really rich community, so the people took the insurance off,” Hammond resident Maureen Garrison said.
In Merrillville, the Target store parking lot there was underwater.